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Giants’ Kadarius Toney will play more when he earns it — Jason Garrett

Offensive coordinator says first-round pick still has a lot to learn

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Kadarius Toney
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Kadarius Toney has played 24 snaps and has two receptions for -2 yards so far this season for the New York Giants. When will the Giants’ first-round pick get more time and touches?

When he earns them.

That, in a nutshell, was offensive coordinator Jason Garrett’s answer in regards to the Toney topic on Thursday.

“He’ll be a piece of what we’re doing. We have a lot of guys on offense that we like and we want to get the ball to. We were excited to draft Kadarius and we’re excited to have him on our team. We’re excited to play him,” Garrett said. “But you know, we’re excited about playing (tight end) Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley and Kenny Golladay and (wide receiver) Sterling Shepard and (wide receiver) Darius Slayton and some of the other guys, too. Our guys are going to earn their opportunities, earn their opportunities to get a jersey, to play and to get opportunities within the game.”

Toney has had a befuddling start to his Giants’ career. He skipped voluntary OTAs, which rookies almost never do. He started training camp on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. When he came off that he almost immediately injured a hamstring and missed nearly all of training camp and the preseason.

Garrett was pretty straightforward in expressing the Giants’ belief that Toney isn’t yet ready for prime time.

“Kadarius hasn’t played a lot of football for us, yet. He missed the spring. He missed most of training camp. He practiced about three days before the season started, so he’s a young player who’s learning,” Garrett said. “Receivers, it takes them a little time to transition into the NFL. We all know that. I would say, in general, college receivers when they’re coming into the NFL, there’s a whole repertoire of routes that they haven’t been exposed to, so he’s in that process. It’s not unique to him or to us, that’s just the nature of things.

“The biggest thing with him is practicing day in and day out and developing some consistency. No fault of his, he’s just been hurt and been sick and has been dealing with some different things. He’s done a good job here lately continuing to work in practice. He’s continued to develop the trust that coaches and quarterbacks have in him and just continue to grow. You said it, he played some more snaps in the game the other day. He did a good job with his work. He just has to keep doing that.”

In 2020, CeeDee Lamb (drafted No. 17 by the Dallas Cowboys) caught 89 passes for 1,120 yards and 6 touchdowns. Justin Jefferson (taken No. 22 by the MInnesota Vikings) had 99 catches for 1,536 yards and 8 touchdowns). Chase Claypool (49th, Pittsburgh Steelers) had 68 catches for 988 yards and 9 TDs.

This season, several rookie receivers have already been productive.

Jaylen Waddle (No. 6/Miami Dolphins) has 10 catches for 109 yards and a TD. DeVonta Smith (No. 10/Philadelphia Eagles) has 8 catches for 87 yards and a score. Rondale Moore (49th/Arizona Cardinals) has 11 catches for 182 yards and a touchdown.

Thus, while not every highly-drafted wide receiver produces immediately, it is apparent many do.

It isn’t going to help anything that Toney showed up on Thursday’s injury report as a limited practice participant due to an ankle issue. That immediately calls into question how much the Giants will be able to use him on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, if he is available at all.

Toney’s bizarre media session

Toney was made available to media on Thursday by the Giants, and began by addressing “the elephant in the room with social media.” Toney recently drew criticism for an Instagram post some interpreted as expressing unhappiness with the Giants. He said the post was a “personal matter” and jabbed at media members who made more of it than he said was intended.

“I know a lot of people saw what I posted, like media wise, me saying the media this and that. That’s not meant for everybody,” Toney said. “The ones, they specifically know who I’m talking about because of the story that they want to make, want to create, stuff like that, they know exactly who I’m talking about. I apologize to the rest of you all who do a great job in what you all do. I’m going to leave it at that.”

Toney did say the incident taught him a lesson.

“I really learned that it’s really your job to create whatever you’re all going to create or out of whatever you all want it to be,” he said. “From my standpoint, I’m just going to go back to what I normally used to do and not post at all to give you nothing to really talk about.”

As for football, what about his role so far with the team on offense?

“I feel pretty good in it.”

Does he want to be used more?

“I feel pretty good where I’m at.”

Does it feel good to be physically healthy again (aside from the ankle issue we didn’t know about at the time?

“I kind of (always) felt (like) myself because I wake up myself every day.”

Does he need to make a play or start showing some production to justify where he was drafted?

“Yeah, a play would be pretty good. As far as me taking that (as) the first thing on my mind as soon as I wake up, not really. I wake up every day, come in, do my job, do what I can every day to increase my role, increase my ability every day. I don’t really need justification from everybody about what I’m doing because I understand what’s going on.”

What kind of player does he expect to be?

“An exciting one I guess from what you all tell me or from what you all want to write about. So exciting, that’s what I’m aiming for.”

His time with the Giants has certainly been interesting so far. Unfortunately, not in the way the Giants had hoped.