NFL insider praises Giants, Jets rookies following big Week 6 wins

Peter King knows a thing or two because he’s seen a thing or two.

Now an insider for NBC Sports, King rose through the ranks as New York Giants beat writer for Newsday from 1985 to 1989.

In his latest Football America in Morning column, King made sure to praise rookie pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux, who picked up his first career sack in the Giants’ stunning 24-20 win over the Baltimore Ravens Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

After missing the start of his rookie season with a knee injury, it took until week six for Kayvon Thibodeaux to get the breakout moment fitting for his status as the number five overall pick. With the Giants holding a slim four-point lead and the Ravens driving late in the fourth, Thibodeaux strip-sacked Lamar Jackson, and Leonard Williams recovered to seal the win for the G-Men.

King also had plenty of praise for the New York Jets, who sit at 4-2 after upsetting the Packers27-10, Sunday in Green Bay. Specifically, King locked in on rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner:

Sauce Gardner is every bit as good as he looks early on in his NFL career. On Sunday, against Aaron Rodgers, Gardner played man coverage on 11 of 42 coverage snaps and allowed no completions in two targets. So far this year, he’s allowed one reception for six yards in 40 man coverage snaps, the best record in man coverage of any cornerback in the league.

Gardner shared King’s Defensive Player of the Week honors with Thibodeaux and Buffalo Bills linebacker Von Miller.

What a statement game for the rookie cornerback. Even with his game-opening pick six of Aaron Rodgers reversed, his elite ballhawk capabilities were on full display. Gardner tallied two pass breakups, including interrupting a Rodgers deep throw intended for Allen Lazard.

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King also gave shout-outs to Jets safety Will Parks and defensive lineman Quinnen Williams for their work on special teams. And, of course, King had nothing but nice things to say about Robert Saleh, one of his Coaches of the Week.

So much of New York’s 4-2 start comes back to the top. In his second season with the big job, Saleh has found a way to build a strong defense and to empower the offense to play his style, which will always include a strong run game. After the game, Saleh shared some of his halftime speech: “Just keep giving ‘em blow after body blow after body blow.” That’s what the Jets have been doing for six weeks now. Saleh has the receipts to prove it.

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