The New York Giants won a surprising upset victory over the Tennessee Titans to start the 2022 season. But what happened on the field during the Giants’ win over Tennessee wasn’t the only surprising outcome of the season opener.
What didn’t happen — and who wasn’t — on the field quickly became a story as well.
Giants’ second-year wide receiver Kadarius Toney was a non-factor for the Giants. Toney played just seven snaps against the Titans, two fewer than Rookie Wan’Dale Robinson who left the game with an injury half-way through the first quarter. Journeyman Richie James, meanwhile, played 42 snaps and have five receptions.
Giants’ head coach Brian Daboll assured reporters and fans that Toney is a factor in the Giants’ offense.
“We had more than just seven plays for him, but they weren’t called,” he said. “We’ll see what happens this week.”
He added that the Giants’ receiving corps is a competitive situation and players would be evaluated on a week-to-week basis.
For his part, Toney says he was prepared to go on the field when called upon, even though that didn’t really happen.
“You go in wanting to do what you can for the team,” he said on Wednesday. “That’s what I did. At the end of the day, I was there when my number was called. Simple.”
Toney added that the coaches told him after the game that packages and situations in which he’d be on the field didn’t come up. Toney said, “Like he [Coach Daboll] said, I had multiple formations that I was supposed to be in, and we didn’t get around to them. There’s nothing else that really needs to be explained.”
Game situations aside, Toney dealt with injuries in training camp and the preseason, limiting the amount of time he was able to be on the practice field. Rookie edge defender Kayvon Thibodeaux has said that he knows he needs to practice and earn his way onto the field after his injury.
That seems to be a common refrain from the Giants’ coaching staff, and Toney acknowledged the same thing.
“If that’s what’s required [being available for practice], that’s what I’ve got to do,” he said. “Everybody knows I had the injury a couple of weeks ago and that’s why I wasn’t on the field. I guess that’s just with that, I don’t know. I don’t know what to say.”
Toney doesn’t know what the coming weeks will bring, whether he’ll become a fixture in the offense or a rotational player. That’s a coaching decision and not in his job description.
“I get paid to do one thing, do my job,” he said. “I get paid to play, not coach. I don’t know what the plan was. At the end of the day, I just prepared as if I was going in and playing every play. I don’t know what else to say.”
But even with just two touches on seven snaps all game, Toney wasn’t disappointed in his role.
“Disappointed in a victory? Disappointed in winning? You sound crazy.”