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Giants mini-camp observations, Day 1: Kadarius Toney’s misadventures, Kenny Golladay, Logan Ryan, more

Some things we learned during Tuesday’s Giants practice

Syndication: The Record
Joe Judge and Kadarius Toney on Tuesday.
Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via Imagn Content Services, LLC

If you are worrying about Kadarius Toney after the New York Giants’ first-round pick left Tuesday’s practice early, you’re not alone.

It’s hardly time to panic. These are mostly slow-paced June workouts in shorts. Still, the start to Toney’s NFL career — a shoe issue in rookie mini-camp, not participating in OTAs and now not making it through the first practice of mandatory mini-camp — is not a good start for the player the Giants selected after moving down from No. 11 to No. 20 in Round 1.

Toney had looked fine through Tuesday’s workout until slipping on the field and not returning to action.

It sure would be nice to see Toney make it all the way through a couple of practices without incident.

Head coach Joe Judge On Tuesday called reps at this time of year “really valuable” for rookies. Toney has already missed a lot of them.

There is time to catch up. Still, you aren’t the only one with that queasy feeling in your stomach about Toney.

“That’s my boy”

Kenny Golladay is with a team other than the Detroit Lions for the first time in his NFL career. Which means, for the first time in his career, Matthew Stafford won’t be his team’s No. 1 quarterback.

That will, of course, be Daniel Jones.

So, after just a couple of official practices together (last Friday at OTAs and Tuesday’s mini-camp) and a couple of off-site throwing sessions, how is the relationship between Jones and Golladay developing?

“That’s my boy,” Golladay said via Zoom after Tuesday’s practice.

“I can’t wait to just really work with him deeper in training camp and especially when the season starts,” Golladay said.

Jones targeted the 6-foot-4, 214-pound Golladay often during Tuesday’s practice. That is, obviously a hookup the Giants are banking heavily on after handing Golladay a four-year, $72 million contract to be their No. 1 receiver.

“This is just a new chapter in my life right now. I definitely feel like I have to go out there and prove to other people including myself, it’s different for me. I got drafted to Detroit. Played all four years there. This is a whole different environment right now. So I’m just ready to accept the challenge and just ready to go to work,” Golladay said.

“To be honest, it [the money] really doesn’t. I’m confident in my game. I’m confident in my work ethic and I know Coach Judge is going to be on me. I hope JG (Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett) will be on me as well. I’m the type of person I never want to be content and I don’t ever want to let myself get like that and I’m going to work and make sure that I leave everything out there.”

Coach Joe Judge was asked Tuesday how Golladay can help the Giants.

“I think the second you stand next to him, you understand he’s a long guy, and that showed up on his tape before we got him here. There’s enough evidence in the experience of the league that we know that about him,” Judge said. “In terms of how that can help a team, I think that only helps as well as you can use it to your advantage. There’s a lot of tall guys in this league that can’t create separation and can’t make contested catches.

“There’s enough evidence with Kenny that we are going to work it to use his strengths and we plan on having impact but again that depends how he produces on a daily basis. We have high expectations for all our players and he’s no different and giving him an opportunity to work within our systems and give him an opportunity to make plays.”

Logan Ryan’s nod to Giants history

Give the man credit. When Logan Ryan makes up his mind to go all-in, he absolutely goes all the way in.

Determined to lead the Giants’ secondary and to pass on the knowledge he has gained during eight years in the NFL playing with a number of talented defensive backs, Ryan summoned several Giants’ pass defenders to Florida for workouts a few weeks ago.

“I really just wanted to bring the guys down and just have some time to ourselves. It was tough last year, joining the team so late and not really having an opportunity to bond with the guys,” said Ryan, who joined the Giants on Sept. 5 of last season.

“So I just think those guys got to see how I work day-to-day, and we got to talk a lot about how we would play things and we actually had a boating trip and I think [James] Bradberry said he didn’t catch any fish, okay, but we talked a lot about coverage and Bradberry talking about how he was covering a guy, and really it was cool sharing stories how we covered guys in the league, so it was a great opportunity.”

Ryan also took the extraordinary step this offseason of reaching out to former Giants Antrel Rolle, Jason Sehorn and Corey Webster to talk about the team’s history.

“The barometer for what I do, I always look at last year’s just statistics, like broad, who was the top secondary, is it the Rams, what are some of the numbers that they put up, what are some of the franchise numbers, the best Giants secondaries, who are those players and I reached out personally this year, I reached out to Antrel Rolle, I reached out to Jason Sehorn and I reached out to Corey Webster and I reached out to those guys and I said, “Hey, I want to pick your brain and be great like you. I respect what you have done in the past, can you give me anything,” Ryan said.

“And all those guys were so honored and willing and eager to be a part of our secondary and they were willing and eager to help out. They were thankful that I reached out to try to build the bridge between the current secondary and former greats. I want to be like them and lead those units and I asked them personally how to be a better leader and a player. I’m an empty cup. They are filling it up, and I just try to relate that and try to teach the history of the franchise to the young guys so we know that our standard is to be one of those secondaries to make the organization and the fan base proud.”

Practice observations

First of all, I have to say this. Any practice report you read that talks glowingly about “standout performers” or highlight reel plays is a bunch of nonsense. This was a slow-paced practice with lots of install, skill and special teams work. There were a couple of 7-on-7 periods, but no blocking, no pass rush and no defensive backs really competing with receivers. Defenders simply worked their technique and shadowed receivers. At one point, receivers intentionally peeled off and allowed defensive backs to practice hauling in interceptions.

So, no, there was really no competition of any kind. That said, there were some noteworthy things.

  • Wide receiver John Ross was the only player I noticed who was expected to be on the field, but did not practice. Word from the Giants was that Ross was accounted for, whatever that means.
  • Maybe Kelvin Benjamin is a tight end, maybe he isn’t. He tried out as a tight end during rookie mini-camp and earned a contract. Word from media on hand last Friday, though, was that the 6-foot-5 and (at least) 245-pound Benjamin was working with the wide receivers. That is also where he worked on Tuesday prior to leaving practice early with a trainer for an unknown reason.
  • Quarterback Riley Dixon? The Giants’ punter had some fun playing quarterback during what appeared to be an install portion of practice for the defense. Dixon, if you remember from last season, is quite comfortable throwing the football.
  • The Giants’ first offensive line, from left to right, was Andrew Thomas, Shane Lemieux, Nick Gates, Will Hernandez, Matt Peart. That is unchanged from OTAs.
  • Since I know you are curious, tight end Evan Engram caught several passes on Tuesday without dropping, or even bobbling, a single one.
  • Since I know you are curious, Part 2, cornerback Sam Beal was on the field after skipping voluntary OTAs.