It’s safe to say that New York Giants rookie wide receiver Kadarius Toney has had a peculiar first few months in the NFL. While trying to get acclimated to the next level, the former Florida standout has battled through multiple injuries in recent months, went through a contract dispute that lasted until early June, and ended up on the Reserve-COVID list. All of this occurred before Toney stepped onto an NFL field in an official capacity for the first time. Toney struggled to stay healthy throughout training camp and didn’t play in a single preseason contest.
All of that is in the past now, and it doesn’t appear that any of it will prevent Toney from suiting up for the Giants’ Week 1 contest against the Denver Broncos.
“We’ll be specific and purposeful with how we use KaDarius,” offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said while speaking with members of the local media on Thursday.
Knowing that Toney is unlikely to be a focal point of the Giants’ offense on Sunday for several reasons, head coach Joe Judge and Garrett will have to get creative when searching for ways to utilize his dynamic talent. I have good news for both Judge and Garrett. There’s a giant body of work on how to do just that available to them via the ways Florida used Toney in 2020.
Toney’s explosive playstyle and ability to make defenders miss in one-on-one situations is a big part of what makes him such a special athlete. While he’s likely still getting up to speed in the Giants’ offense, Garrett would be wise to design plays to get the ball in Toney’s hands against what should be a very good Broncos defense. It could be as simple as the jet sweeps and bubble screens we so often saw from him at Florida. Toney is a modern-day scat receiver that’s able to work all over the field. Find a way to get the ball in his hands, sit back, and watch him turn nothing into something.
In college, Toney was a dynamic slot receiver that got better with each passing season. Toney is one of those rare athletes that have the ability to change the outcome of a game every time he touches the ball. Toney’s quick-twitch movements keep a defense on their toes. Defensive coordinators have to account for him every time he’s on the field. You can bet your bottom dollar that Broncos head coach Vic Fangio is aware of the threat Toney provides.
This Denver defense is very good on paper, and the Giants should be prepared to throw everything at them on Sunday. That plan needs to include Toney in some way, shape, or form. There’s a competitive advantage to be gained by utilizing Toney, even in the simplest of ways.
The Giants have several weapons on offense. They will prioritize the likes of Saquon Barkley, Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, and Darius Slayton on Sundays. It’s going to take some time for Toney to receive work ahead of one or two of those guys, and tight end Evan Engram isn’t even listed there seeing that he’s unlikely to play in Week 1.
But simply put, Toney needs to be involved. He’s too good not to be.
Toney’s transition to the NFL was always going to be a complicated one, and it’s been made even more difficult by the events that have taken place in recent months, but the Giants would be wise to get the ball in his hands as often as realistically possible on Sunday.