Three days and seven snaps removed from the New York Giants’ season opener, Kadarius Toney let it be known that you’d be crazy to think he was disappointed in his squad’s Week 1 win over the Tennessee Titans because of his lack of playing time.
“Disappointed in a victory?” Toney answered rhetorically on Wednesday, via Michael Elsen of the team website. “Disappointed in winning? You sound crazy.
“If I played two plays, one play and we win — I don’t really care nothing about getting no … it’s OK.”
Following the Giants’ 21-20 victory on Sunday, rookie head coach Brian Daboll’s aggressive approach was lauded and star running back Saquon Barkley’s return to form garnered acclaim and awards. However, under the spotlight and scrutiny that comes with playing in Gotham, there’s always something to shine a negative light on and Toney, a wide receiver taken at No. 20 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, getting only seven snaps on Sunday fits the bill.
Anticipation for Toney to fulfill his first-round potential and for the Giants to cash in on his game-breaking talent has lingered since an underwhelming first campaign. That potential remained unfulfilled and largely unused in the first game of a new season.
Toney, who’s battled injuries throughout his year and change with the club, saw only two snaps in the first half and five in the second. He shrugged off concerning himself with how he’s used and how often, though.
“At the end of the day, I was there when my number was called,” Toney said. “Simple. … I did my job. I get paid to do one thing, do my job.”
Having tallied 39 receptions for 420 yards with no touchdowns as a rookie, Toney’s first Sunday of 2022 saw him play the aforementioned seven snaps, get no targets and rush the ball twice for 23 yards (one of those carries came on an option pass play).
Settling in to the Giants’ offense in 2021 under then-head coach Joe Judge was an issue and so too has been availability. Toney missed seven games in his rookie season and has dealt with thigh, ankle, quad, abdomen, shoulder and knee injuries since he’s been with Big Blue. The latter was cause for minor surgery this past offseason. Having missed his share of practice time prior to the season opener, Toney’s lack of PT could have been cause for the scarcity of snaps.
“We have confidence in Kadarius. I think, again, I’ve mentioned this before a couple of weeks ago with our receiver position: It’s a competitive situation,” Daboll said on Monday. “And they’ll be evaluated on a week-to-week basis. So, relative to inactives or playtime or amount of plays, everybody’s got to earn their role. One week it might be a whole game; one week, it might be less. But Kadarius has done a good job of learning our stuff. I have no concerns about him knowing our information.”
Thus far, the Florida product has delivered more sizzle than steak, flashing big plays here and there, but never producing on a consistent basis. Nonetheless, Toney stated the obvious on Wednesday: It’s not his call how much playing time he gets.
“I get paid to play, not coach,” Toney said. “I don’t know what the plan was. At the end of the day, I have to prepare as if I was going and playing every play. I don’t know what else to say.”
At this point, the hope is Toney will be able to do his talking on the field. The next chance for him to do that is a Week 2 matchup with the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium.
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