EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – The New York Giants have something in wide receiver Kadarius Toney. The 20th overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft is simply moving differently than most. This was evident when looking at Sunday’s 44-20 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.
It’s like he’s sliding instead of running, like quick receiver DeSean Jackson, who has consistently left defensemen in the dust over the years and will be on the opposing sideline on Sunday when his Los Angeles Rams visit the Los Angeles Rams. Giants (1 p.m. ET, Fox).
There aren’t many receivers who catch the ball like Toney did at the end of the second quarter, go from zero to 100 seemingly within a yard, put their foot in the ground and split a pair of defenders about to be tripped. near the goal line. On the play when Toney was kicked out for throwing a punch in the fourth quarter, he first caught a pass near the numbers, stopped, started, jumped back and slid through a pair. defenders before turning and carrying the stack a few more yards.
No wonder his varsity trainer at the University of Florida, Jim McElwain, once called Toney the “human joystick”.
His game resembles former receiver / returner Dante Hall, who also wore that nickname. It’s like a player slamming the A, B, X, and Y buttons simultaneously when the ball is in Toney’s hands. He finished with 10 catches on 13 targets for 189 yards against the Cowboys and has shown he can catch, run, miss people, throw and jump over defensemen. He even took a straight snap, gaining seven yards at the Dallas yard line early in the fourth quarter.
“[Toney’s] special, ”said Mike Glennon, who took over as quarterback when starter Daniel Jones left the end of the second quarter with a concussion. “I think he has shown what he can do. It was fun to watch. … You throw him a short pass and he takes it, you don’t see him very often at the NFL level, which makes guys miss out on like that. He has a unique skill set that we are all finally seeing. I’m glad he’s on our team. “
Among the 57 players with a minimum of 20 receptions this season, Toney has the fourth-highest number of yards after catches at 8.25 per reception (third among receivers), according to ESPN Stats and Information.
Hesitation, dead leg, supersonic spin, and high speed cuts are all part of his repertoire. They’ve played a much bigger role over the past two weeks with the Giants running out of receivers and Toney more ready to play after a spring and summer where he hardly ever trained for various reasons, illnesses and injuries.
“The process is really more than, if he’s going to the left, I have to go to the right,” Toney said last week of missing defenders. “It’s kind of like playing freeze tag, something like that. It’s that kind of feeling when you’re there.”
Either way, it’s special and has to be a big part of the offense to move forward.
Toney was hit late against the Cowboys and faces an ankle problem that calls into question his status for Sunday’s game against the Rams. Still, he proves he could be the scariest weapon on this offense, even when running back Saquon Barkley (ankle) and wide receiver Kenny Golladay (knee) are healthy. The game plan will certainly put him a lot more forward than at the start of this season, when he was still in the process of getting up to speed.
Toney’s unmissable ability hasn’t been seen in these areas since the Giants last recruited an SEC school receiver, LSU’s Odell Beckham Jr., in 2014. And similar to the time of day. ‘OBJ with the Giants, the drama seems to find Toney – see Sunday’s ejection, when he came out after punching Cowboys safety Damontae Kazee following a minor scrum. This drew the wrath of coach Joe Judge.
“There is a pretty distinct line in terms of competing and doing the things that we are not going to tolerate as a team that has sidelined us. It will not be accepted,” said Judge. “It’s not going to be tolerated. It’s as far as I’m going to go with this.”
Toney is expected to avoid a suspension, a league source told ESPN on Monday. He goes through the standard disciplinary process with the league which will likely result in a fine.
The young playmaker seems to recognize his mistake and apologized to the entire organization on Monday morning.
I want to take the time to apologize to the whole organization, the owners, my teammates and the whole #Big Blue… your emotions can sometimes get the better of you … No excuses, just actions 💯🤞🏽#Thank you all
– Kadarius Toney (@ 0fficialC2N) October 11, 2021
Now it is a matter of learning from one’s mistakes.
“At the end of the day, he’s still a rookie and he’s got a lot to learn. He’s going to make mistakes,” Golladay said. “I’m pretty sure he wishes he could get that moment back. Turn the other cheek. He will learn from it.”
If he does, it’ll put all the attention on the unique things he can do on the pitch. The “Human Joystick” is more than just a description, and it embraces the nickname, even though it calls itself Yung Joka online and as a musical artist.
“At the time, I really didn’t think of anything [the nickname]. It was just me who wanted to play and do what I could, “Toney said.” I didn’t really think about it, but now I kind of thank you. [McElwain], do you know what I’m saying? Because it’s kind of like a brand in that I play the way I play. “