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Kenny Golladay: “Just trying to start off on a good note”

Golladay can’t help but be excited for the Giants’ offense under Brian Daboll

New York Giants v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

When the New York Giants signed wide receiver Kenny Golladay to a four-year, $72 million contract, they likely had visions of Plaxico Burress making big plays for Eli Manning.

They probably didn’t have visions of the 37-catch, 541-yard, zero-touchdown campaign Golladay had over the 14 games he played in 2021.

Golladay didn’t play up to expectations by any measure — the Giants’ or his own. But with a guaranteed $17.5 million for 2022, Golladay doesn’t need to show up for the start of the Giants’ voluntary offseason program. And yet there he was on Tuesday, on the practice field and up in front of the media.

“I guess you could just say that’s how much it means to me,” Golladay said, “especially coming off last season. Just trying to start off on a good note.”

On Kadarius Toney

Golladay said “I feel like everyone should definitely be here,” at the start of his media availability. And for the most part, everybody was at the start of the Giants’ offseason program. With one major exception on the offensive side of the ball: 2021 first round pick Kadarius Toney.

It’s been reported that Toney hasn’t been to the Giants’ facilities yet and hasn’t taken part in any of the off-season program.

As one of the veteran receivers in the room, and one of the leaders of the Giants’ offense as a whole, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Golladay was asked about Toney’s conspicuous absence.

“I haven’t talked to him [Toney] in a while,” Golladay said. “I’m pretty sure he has something going on. Everything will work out. I’m pretty sure he’s talked to the coaches and everything. It’s my job and the rest of the receivers, the receivers coach, to get him back on track.”

Golladay said that one of the big reasons why he made a point of showing up to the voluntary offseason program was his disappointing 2021 season. Toney had a similarly disappointing season, and Golladay was asked how he reconciles the different responses to the 2021 season.

Golladay replied, “Just being one of the older guys in the room. Like I said, I haven’t talked to him. I’m trying to get everything, myself in order, as far as learning the playbook.” He added that he believes that the old man of the Giants’ locker room, wide receiver Sterling Shepard, had talked to Toney.

“I’m pretty sure he talked to Shep (Sterling Shepard),” Golladay said, “We kind of holler at him a little bit, I feel like he would definitely listen to us.”

On the offense under Brian Daboll

Golladay was asked about the Giants’ new coaching staff and the new offense.

“Speaking as far as Dabes, he comes in with a lot of energy, coming in, pretty much showing us this is not going to be the same Giants as last year,” Golladay said. “He put his own twist on things, a lot of things. Like I said, there’s a lot energy going on in the building. People staying longer. I feel like we’re more together in a little bit of time.”

“Really coming in early,” he added, “staying late after practice, doing stuff.”

The new coaching staff is markedly different from the Joe Judge regime. There is, according to Golladay, a very different vibe in the building.

“I wouldn’t say it’s chill, but at the same time ... It’s a little bit more relaxed, which is good,” Golladay said. “At the same time, Coach Dabes expects you to get the work done. I think that’s what everybody likes. We can joke around all day long, but once we step on the football field, get in the meeting rooms, I think there’s a time and place for everything. I think everyone got that memo. Once you get on the practice field, you kind of flip that switch.”

Golladay was also admittedly excited about the Giants’ new offense under Brian Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka. After all, the two men helped craft two of the best, and most innovative offenses in the NFL last year.

Golladay said, “Yeah, like I said, Kaf (Mike Kafka) and Dabs do a great job of just moving guys around. I could be at the number three spot, number two spot, even Saquon can be lined up as a receiver, they can be in the backfield. There’s a lot of little nuances that can get our guys open.”

Golladay admitted to watching some of the Buffalo offense under Daboll and is certainly excited by how much they threw the ball around.

“Those guys in Buffalo had some pretty good pieces. So do we,” he said. “I think that’s the most exciting part. Those guys over there, Diggs, had a whole bunch of balls caught, you know what I mean? You can definitely tell he puts his guys in great positions to succeed.”

Golladay’s excitement is palpable, but he knows it’s still very early in the process.

Golladay said, “As of right now, putting in a bunch of plays. That’s very exciting, a lot of plays that can trick a defense. A lot of guys moving around.”

“It’s only one day,” he continued. “We got 3 (Sterling Shepard). We got 2-6 (Saquon Barkley). We got new guys that’s coming in. The only thing I can do is come out here on the practice field, put good stuff on the tape, then translate it to the games.“