The Kayvon Thibodeaux fan club is ever-growing, adding new members seemingly on a daily basis. The latest addition: Bryan Cox.
Published: 2022-08-09 09:42 pm
Giants assistant Bryan Cox: Kayvon Thibodeau ‘showing great promise’

The Kayvon Thibodeaux fan club is ever-growing, adding new members seemingly on a daily basis.

The latest addition: Bryan Cox.

The guy works, he’s smart, guys gravitate towards him,” the former star linebacker-turned-NFL assistant coach said Tuesday. “He’s showing great promise. … His personality is really good because he’s versatile, he can do a lot of different things, he can have a lot of different conversations. His play is going to speak for itself.”

So far, it has been quite loud, the 6-foot-5, 258-pound outside linebacker already standing out in his first training camp. The relationship between the two, Cox and Thibodeaux, does appear to be somewhat complicated, though.

According to ESPN insider Adam Schefter, at a dinner in the lead-up to the draft Cox, the Giants’ assistant defensive line coach now serving as the defensive line coach while Andre Patterson is away dealing with a health matter, peppered Thibodeaux with personal questions that didn’t sit well with the prospect. At one point, Thibodeaux had to take a break to compose himself.

Bryan Cox and Kayvon Thibodeaux
Corey Sipkin (2)

It would make sense that the Giants would grill the former Oregon star, since there were pre-draft concerns around the league about Thibodeaux’s focus and desire. But it didn’t dissuade the new hierarchy from taking him with the fifth-overall pick.

“He’s a part of the New York Giants, so obviously those weren’t questions we had,” Cox said. “I can’t speak to what somebody else may think.”

When asked about the report, the 54-year-old Cox declined to address it, but he did talk a lot about Thibodeaux and how much he has been impressed by him while addressing their relationship.

“We got a great relationship. We speak every day,” Cox said. “We laugh together. We have good conversations.”

Cox was a star in his day, an intense linebacker and three-time Pro Bowler known for being a big hitter and a somewhat combustible player. He initially was the same way as a coach, which Cox admits may not have been the best thing. After the Falcons’ Super Bowl loss to the Patriots five years ago, he was let go, and couldn’t hook on elsewhere. It wasn’t until Brian Daboll landed the Giants job that Cox was brought back to the NFL.

Kayvon Thibodeaux pulls in a pass during Giants practice.
Corey Sipkin

“I think five years ago, my coaching style was almost exactly like my playing style,” Cox said Tuesday before practice. “But I think with some growth and a lot of therapy and working with guys like Wink [Martindale] and, for me, Andre Patterson [as] a mentor, it’s been really good. It’s really different than what I’m used to. You know what, I would say this: If I was at my age now at 54, and I thought like the younger Bryan Cox, I’d be an old fool.

“So at some point you have to grow, you have to change, you have to mature, and I think that’s been the case.”

Cox acknowledged he can still run hot, which may have had something to do with the fireworks at that pre-draft dinner with Thibodeaux. But he insisted that he has mellowed, too, and better understands now how to get the most out of players.

“I think what I’m learning is, nobody’s trying to mess up,” Cox said. “And when you look at it from a player’s perspective that’s now coaching, it was maybe easier for you or some things were natural for you, and it’s maybe not natural for the guy that you’re coaching now.

“You have to have some patience, you have to have some understanding and you have to be able to just talk to the guys. If you’re able to tell them the expectation and the standard you’re trying to live up to, then it becomes easier.”

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