How should the New York Giants use Kadarius Toney moving forward?

new york giants, kadarius toney

When the New York Giants drafted Kadarius Toney with the 20th overall pick, they added a versatile weapon on offense who could be used in many different creative ways. With gadget utilities and raw athleticism, Toney was one of the best receivers regarding missed tackles forced during his final year with Florida in 2020. He lead receivers in college last season with a 30% missed tackle rate, showcasing his strengths as he adapts to the NFL and finds his way into the Giants’ scheme.

However, the team has seldom used Toney, featuring him in just 24 offensive snaps through two weeks against Denver and Washington. He has only touched the football twice, both on design plays that failed to produce any positive gains.

The media quickly began to spin stories and rumors regarding his usage and the frustration that was boiling. Toney took to social media to express his emotions, later taking a shot at the media for starting a negative narrative.

However, the Giants are underutilizing Toney, who clearly could help on offense. Every team‘s first-round pick should have an instant impact unless you are developing a quarterback to take over for a veteran, in which case represents a different scenario. When drafting impact weapons on offense and skill position players, they need to be featured early and often to help them adjust to the physicality and speed of the game at the next level.

How the New York Giants can get Toney involved moving forward:

Toney is far more than just a gadget player, with solid route running and unique abilities in the open field. Some ways the Giants can get Toney more involved include using him as a punt returner and featuring him in bunch formations alongside Sterling Shepard in the interior. With Kenny Golladay also taking snaps from the slot, Toney could be pushed outside and supplement reps from Darius Slayton, who had a costly drop against Washington in Week 2, which ended up being the difference in the game.

Having dropped just four passes over four seasons with Florida, there’s no question he is a reliable target that can contribute toward a more efficient unit. Given the Giants scored just seven meaningful points in Week 1, they bounced back with a far more extensive and aggressive strategy against Washington, scoring 29 points. The Giants scored more than 29 points just once in 2020, so they’ve already gotten off to a decent start in context with Jason Garrett’s vanilla scheme.

There are two reasons the Giants might be holding back from unleashing Kadarius:

First, he could be dealing with an injury and recovering from Covid, so they want to take a more cautious approach with his health. Alternatively, the Giants are still developing their scheme and adding new elements every week, so perfecting the base concepts and expanding that route tree could be more prevalent in the short term. With Toney’s unique skill set, they might be waiting to add his qualities at the right time when the offense has momentum, and they’ve begun stringing together consistent performances with their more established players.

New York Giants: Kadarius Toney lashes out at media on Instagram

new york giants, kadarius toney

So far, this season isn’t going as fans would have hoped for New York Giants draft pick Kadarius Toney.

While it looked like the Giants were getting a good value after trading down to take the player, they’ve had more problems than production from Toney so far and that has led to some of the receiver’s frustrations going public. This comes after the second game of the season, when the Giants not only blew the game but also failed to make use of their first round rookie.

After two games gone by, Toney has negative receiving yards and had no targets or receptions at all in his second appearance. He was only on the field for 8% of the Giants’ offensive snaps in his first game and 28% of their snaps in the second game.

It’s understandable that he’s frustrated with his usage by the coaching staff so far, but from the looks of things, Toney isn’t the best at choosing how to express those feelings.

Specifically, Toney took to Instagram where he responded to the criticism of himself by calling the media clowns.

Is Kadarius Toney heading towards problems?

While not everyone is a fan of the media, most can agree that coming out and openly attacking them on social media isn’t a wise move for a player in a major market like New York. Toney is already a controversial figure among the fans for the turbulent start to his career, and picking up a reputation early on as a diva wide receiver wouldn’t help his case in that regard.

Furthermore, this seems like something that can only end badly for a player coached by Joe Judge, who preaches discipline. Golden Tate, after all, landed himself out the lineup for one game last season in part because of his Instagram activity.

With Toney being outspoken so far about both the team’s usage of him and the media and fan narratives about him, it may be realistic to expect more controversy this season. At least, if the Giants don’t quickly figure out how to use Toney’s skillset and quell the concerns that they drafted a player in the first round just to sit him for most of the game.

New York Giants: Daniel Jones had best game of career on TNF, says PFF

new york giants, daniel jones

The New York Giants suffered a demoralizing loss to the Washington Football Team on Thursday Night. The fanbase is down in the dumps and nearly every takeaway is negative. However, there is one glaring spotlight in the middle of this dark shadow: Daniel Jones.

Daniel Jones was dialed in last night and turned in arguably the best single-game performance of his NFL career so far. This was encouraging considering the mediocre level of play the Giants got out of their quarterback in Week One. Jones was dealt plenty of criticism after the season opener and responded with authority in Week Two.

According to Pro Football Focus, this was by far the best game of Daniel Jones’s career. The third-year quarterback seemed to come into his own against his division rivals on primetime.

Daniel Jones earns an elite PFF grade in Week Two

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones earned an elite grade from Pro Football Focus for his Week Two performance. While his box score stat-sheet might not be too crazy, it does not tell the full story. Jones threw for 249 yards and 1 touchdown with a 69% completion percentage. The box score, however, does not take into account the dropped passes that Danny Dimes delivered on target.

PFF gave Daniel Jones the best grade of his career (91.3) in Week 2 and it’s not particularly close. Jones was also the highest-graded player on Thursday Night Football with that 91.3 overall grade. Such a high-graded performance might land Daniel on PFF’s Team of the Week after the Sunday-Monday games finish.

Also according to PFF, Daniel Jones’ average depth of target was 11 yards in Week Two. This ADOT would have been the highest amongst all NFL quarterbacks in Week One (excluding Jordan Love). Daniel Jones and the Giants’ offense played mightily conservative in Week One and seemed reluctant to throw the ball downfield. But, in Week Two, Daniel Jones played with much more aggression, from which the Giants’ offense benefited greatly.

This game gave the Giants a glimpse of what Daniel Jones could become. The team hopes he proves to be a franchise quarterback. If Jones can play like this on a consistent basis, he might prove to be what the Giants hope he is. He also led the team with 95 rushing yards and 1 rushing touchdown on 9 carries. Daniel Jones carried the Giants’ offense in the best game of his career despite a heart-breaking last-second loss.

New York Giants: Steve Smith calls for increasing Saquon Barkley’s role

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

The New York Giants running game hasn’t been anything special this season so far. Saquon Barkley made it back by week 1, but it still remains to be seen if his knee is strong enough to keep up with the NFL game after a long recovery process.

After the first two games, Barkley’s numbers have been anything but impressive. He rushed for 57 yards in the Thursday Night Football loss, but the majority of those yards came on a single big run for 41 yards at once. Outside of that run, Barkley didn’t look like the generational prospect the Giants expected from his college tape and healthy rookie season.

With that being said, not everyone blames Barkley himself for his struggles. The Giants have been cautious in utilizing him, and many have accused the coaching staff of not giving him enough touches or being creative enough in getting him the ball. Those critics include former Panthers receiver Steve Smith, who believes the Giants need to put the ball in Barkley’s hands more before a judgement can be made about his explosiveness.

“We will never find out if Saquon Barkley is getting his explosiveness back if all you are doing is sitting back and throwing the ball,” Smith told the New York Post.

“They didn’t do a good job of getting him in rhythm — and this is a wide receiver talking about getting the running game going. It really limited to see how much explosiveness he had or didn’t have. When you drop and throw the ball as much as they are trying to do, it makes things very difficult to judge.”

Should the Giants use Barkley more?

It looks like the Giants might be taking a cautious approach with Barkley to protect him from the risk of reinjury.

However, the current strategy hasn’t done much to inspire confidence in the running game. A common point brought up about the loss to Washington is that the Giants could have ran the clock out while they had a lead, if they were more confident in their ability to move the ball on the ground.

If the Giants really want to get the expected value out of Barkley, they’ll have to get the ball in his hands more. It’s unknown whether having more touches would improve the running back’s numbers. But with the team 0-2 and public sentiment at a low point, the Giants don’t have very much to lose from trying it out.

After all, focusing on the passing attack just hasn’t worked out two weeks in. Even after having what may be his best game, Daniel Jones was unable to lead the Giants to victory on his own after the running game failed to make much happen.

Giants News: Kenny Golladay yells at Jason Garrett, Kadarius Toney’s frustrations are boiling over

new york giants, kenny golladay

The New York Giants lost a nailbiter against the Washington Football Team on Thursday evening, with interior defender Dexter Lawrence jumping offside on a field goal attempt, they gave kicker Dustin Hopkins one more opportunity to win the game. Unfortunately for the Giants, Hopkins didn’t miss on his second attempt, sending Big Blue crashing down to an 0-2 record this season and the fan base into a frenzy.

With the negativity beginning to mount and head coach Joe Judge running out of answers, the interior of the team has begun to raise frustration, as star receiver Kenny Golladay was seen yelling at coordinator Jason Garrett toward the end of the contest.

Kenny Golladay screams at Jason Garrett as the team avoids him in the most important moments:

Golladay finished with three receptions for 38 yards in the loss, playing in 39 total passing snaps. Golladay was used rarely, as quarterback Daniel Jones targeted Sterling Shepard more frequently over the big money possession option.

Golladay has every right to be frustrated about his lack of usage, especially toward the latter portion of the game when the Giants needed to march down the field and score. At 6’4″ and 213 pounds, the Giants took only one deep shot to their big exterior receiver, which simply isn’t enough.

However, Kenny wasn’t the only receiver to expressed frustration after the defeat, as first-round pick Kadarius Toney took to social media to show his disappointment.

Kadarius Toney’s frustration is boiling over to social media:

Toney featured in just 19 total snaps against Washington, an increase of 14 compared to Week 1 against Denver. Toney failed to make an impact in the receiving game, not being targeted once by Jones. After the game, Tony posted on social media a meme, stating, “I don’t be mad, s—t just be lame to me.”

Some might compare the Giants’ lack of utility for Toney, like buying a sports car and failing to drive it. It is yet to be seen if coordinator Jason Garrett even has plays in his arsenal that are capable of maximizing Kadarius’s skill set.

Hopefully, they can get him more involved moving forward and not just utilize him as an end-around and jet sweep option. He is far more than just a gadget player, and if the Giants don’t get him involved quickly, Toney has a high probability of lashing out once again, and with Golliday already having a screaming match with Garrett on the sidelines, they need to get some of these players involved quickly.

New York Giants: Washington favored in pregame predictions for Thursday Night Football

New York Giants, Darius Slayton

The New York Giants opened the season as an underdog, and it looks like they will have similar circumstances in tonight’s Thursday Night Football matchup. The opponent is once again favored by the media, but this time the game carries higher stakes as it’s within the division and an 0-2 start is on the line.

Around the media, the general sentiment is that Washington has the advantage. ESPN in particular has a harsh assessment of the Giants, with only three analysts picking the Giants compared to eight predicting a Washington victory. Things weren’t much more favorable in USA Today, where all of the experts picked Washington.

These predictions come in spite of the fact that Washington will be stuck with backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke following Ryan Fitzpatrick’s injury. Heinicke is primarily known or starting one playoff game for Washington last season, but proved that he can be a servicable backup option by throwing for 306 yards with one touchdown and one interception, while also rushing for one touchdown.

The Giants still have their work cut out for them despite facing a backup. Their own offensive struggles will negate much of the advantage gained, if there isn’t an improvement from last time out.

And Evan Engram and Shane Lemieux missing this game is a reminder that the Giants are still dealing with injury problems. Even Saquon Barkley’s status is questionable going into this game, despite his important role in the offense.

Notably, the Giants have a chance to either get to .500 or succumb to yet another 0-2 start with this game.

While many are betting against them right now, it should be expected that the team will be aware of these stakes and play like they have their backs to the wall. If they fail to change the narrative by doing that and turning things around, we can expect the conversations between this game and their next outing to take an even more negative turn than they did following the opening loss.

New York Giants shift offensive line combination, here’s the projected starting unit for Week 2

new york giants, billy price

It has only been one week in, and the New York Giants are already shifting up their offensive line and testing different combinations. On a short week against the Washington Football Team on Thursday night football, the Giants have elected to move center Nick Gates over to left guard, where Shane Lemieux played just 17 snaps last week before being replaced by Ben Bredeson.

Bredeson was traded from the Baltimore Ravens to the Giants several weeks ago. Big Blue sent over a fourth-round pick in exchange for Bredeson, a fifth and seventh-round selection. However, Bredeson is still learning the system and struggled in some facets in his first action with his new team. With that being the case, the Giants feel better moving Gates over to the left side.

Gates has never played left guard before, spending his rookie season at right guard and right tackle before making the full move to center. While he has been cross-training at both spots this off-season, there’s no guarantee he will be an adequate option.

Expected starting unit for the New York Giants against Washington:

LT: Andrew Thomas

LG: Nick Gates

C: Billy Price

RG: Will Hernandez

RT: Nate Solder

The Giants expressed confidence all off-season regarding their OL, indicating they had enough talent on the roster to get the job done. However, trading for two different players doesn’t exactly scream confidence and efficiency, but rather desperation.

With Billy Price taking over at center, the former first-round pick will undoubtedly have his work cut out for him. Price has 698 total snaps at the position, with the majority coming in his rookie year back in 2018. His best numbers came at center, which provide some sort of optimism against Washington for the Giants.

The coaching staff is treading above water right now, but they could quickly begin to sink if things don’t go well on Thursday night.

Giants’ safety Jabrill Peppers has strong words ahead of Thursday night battle in Washington

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants are gearing up for a big Week 2 matchup against the Washington Football Team, and most are coining it a “must-win” game for both teams. After a disappointing loss in Week 1 to the Denver Broncos, the Giants are trying to bounce back in a strong way as they take on backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke.

After Ryan Fitzpatrick suffered a hip injury that put him on injured reserve, Heinicke stepped into the game. Over 15 passing attempts, Heinicke tallied 122 yards and a touchdown, recording a 70.1 QBR. Overall, he had a solid performance against Los Angeles, but with subpar arm talent, the Giants have the personnel to take advantage.

On the defensive side, the Giants blitzed more in Week 1 than in any game last year, showcasing a shift in strategy. With Patrick Graham attempting to substitute to a more man-coverage-based scheme, the goal will be to get after Heinicke and put him under immediate pressure.

One of the Giants’ key defenders, Jabrill Peppers, struggled in the opening game of the season, as he allowed four receptions on four targets for 34 yards. Peppers gave up several third-down conversions and catches in the red zone, which forced Graham to go in a different direction defensively.

“Subpar,” Peppers said. “I gave up two big third downs. I gave up a catch in the red zone … the standard I hold myself to, those are the routes I usually cover in my sleep. It is what it is, man. I gotta go back to the drawing board, hone in and get better.”

However, Peppers is resilient player and is eyeing a bounce-back against Washington on Thursday evening. Last season, Peppers emerged as one of the Giants’ best playmakers, playing a career-high 912 snaps, tallying 62 tackles, and posting seven pass breakups.
Peppers used some of that fiery energy to express the importance of this upcoming game, which attest to the notion that this is a must-win contest for both teams.

“Well, every game is important. This is a division game. We don’t like them. They don’t like us,” Peppers said. “So that’s where my head’s at right now.”

The Giants have beaten Washington four consecutive times since Daniel Jones took over as the starting quarterback. They will be looking to extend that streak, as Washington’s signal-caller issues presents Big Blue with a great opportunity to smooth over the fan base after an embarrassing loss to Denver.

New York Giants offensive line needs to prove that Week One was not a fluke

New York Giants, Nick Gates

The New York Giants offensive line was the biggest concern surrounding the team entering the 2021 NFL season. Question marks surrounded nearly every lineman in the unit. In 2020, according to ESPN, the Giants’ pass-block win rate ranked dead-last in the NFL at 46%. Their run-block win rate ranked 18th at 70%, which is about average or slightly below. Despite this, the team made no major moves to upgrade their offensive line in the 2021 offseason until just this week.

With basically the same unit from last year carrying over, expectations were low for the Giants’ front line. In Week One, the Giants’ offensive line exceeded all expectations. The line was not the reason for the Giants’ offensive failures. The unit put together a good performance but needs to keep the momentum going in Week Two in order to prove that this first game was not a fluke.

New York Giants offensive line exceeds expectations

The New York Giants offensive line did a great job protecting Daniel Jones in Week One. Daniel Jones was kept clean on 74.4% of his dropbacks versus the Broncos, 2nd highest in his career (PFF). Granted, Jones and the offense did not have a stellar performance, but the blame seems to need to be placed on the play-calling, rather than the blocking.

According to ESPN, the Giants had the fourth-best pass-block win rate in the NFL in Week One. This is an astronomical improvement from 2020 when the unit ranked dead last in that regard.

In Week Two, the New York Giants will face the Washington Football Team and their ferocious, young defensive line. However, that frightening defensive front is coming off of a sluggish and disappointing performance in Week One. Washington recorded 2 sacks as Justin Herbert frequently found himself throwing in a comfortable pocket.

The Giants’ offensive line exceeded expectations while the Football Team’s defensive line failed to meet expectations. The Los Angeles Chargers totaled over 400 all-purpose yards against Washington on Sunday.

Washington’s defensive line is looking for a bounce-back performance. Inversely, the Giants’ offensive line is looking to string together two strong performances in a row and set the tone for their season. On Thursday night, this crucial matchup will take place and could decide the game between the New York Giants and the Washington Football Team.

New York Giants: Evan Engram out and Saquon Barkley questionable

New York Giants, Evan Engram

Even going into the second game of the season, the New York Giants might not have all of their offensive weapons on the field. The team was missing Evan Engram in the season opener and Engram was confirmed today as set to miss his second straight game with a calf injury from before the start of the season.

He’s not the only player that will miss the Thursday Night Football appearance against Washington. In slightly more minor news, special teamer Cam Brown and guard Shane Lemieux will also miss the game.

Saquon Barkley hasn’t been ruled out of the game like these other players. Despite that, he’s listed as questionable and there’s also no guarantee that he will play. While Barkley played in the opener, it’s clear that the staff are taking a cautious approach with him and that he wasn’t playing at his best while coming back from injury.

While some of the poor performance can be attributed to bad run blocking from the offensive line, a theory which is backed up by the lack of performance from alternative option Devontae Booker, Barkley ultimately didn’t utilize much of his unique skillset in the loss.

He looked like any replacement level running back in the league, and while Barkley himself refused to use his injury as a crutch, we may have to consider the possibility that his return was a bit too quick.

Devontae Booker is still waiting in the wings to take a larger role if Barkley is held back to recover longer before being brought back into the fold fully, but based on his own poor numbers from last Sunday, that may not be the most encouraging prospect for those hoping to see an improvement in the rushing attack against Washington.