Giants fans were given a scare when first-round pick Kayvon Thibodeaux went down in the second quarter of Sunday night’s preseason game against the Bengals, injuring his knee on a cut block by tight end Thaddeus Moss (if that name sounds familiar, it’s because his father, Randy, was one of the greatest receivers in NFL history). Thibodeaux missed the remainder of the game, though the Giants are, at least for the moment, confident the rookie avoided a major injury.
Even if that’s the case, many prominent voices on Twitter including Rich Eisen, NFL analytics expert Warren Sharp and former Heisman winner Robert Griffin III were critical of Moss, feeling he should have been flagged, if not ejected, for taking Thibodeaux’s legs out from underneath him.
While aiming low is usually frowned upon, former offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse defended the play, insisting Moss had no intent to injure Thibodeaux and was merely protecting his quarterback, Brandon Allen, from getting hit. It’s also important to consider the context with a missed blocking assignment potentially costing Moss, an undrafted LSU alum who has spent much of his early career on the Bengals’ practice squad, a spot on the 53-man roster.
Clearly, there are arguments to be made on both sides—some would call it a dirty block that needs to be legislated out of the sport while others would accuse Eisen and Sharp of hyperbole, overreacting to a routine play that happens multiple times per game. The Oregon standout claims to be “good,” an outcome that will hopefully be confirmed by Monday’s MRI. Still, the Giants could easily have lost Thibodeaux to a season-ending injury, a worst-case scenario for a team that, since Eli Manning’s departure three years ago, can’t seem to catch a break.