A few years ago, Darius Slayton might have let this summer get to him. He might have wanted answers and tried to read into everything that has happened to him.
The wide receiver seems to have been yo-yoing up and down the depth chart all camp between mop-up reps with the third unit to a starting role in last week’s preseason opener.
Deciphering what it means, he told Newsday, is pointless.
“You can’t worry about such things because you have no control over such things,” he said Monday. “At the end of the day, even if you were to sit around and try to figure it out, you just don’t know. I try not to waste brain power on it.”
If he wanted to, he’d have plenty of time to dwell on it. Slayton hasn’t played or practiced since he left Thursday’s game with an injury, and he said he isn’t sure if he’ll be back in time for Sunday’s preseason game against the Bengals.
The one guy who does know what Slayton’s daily assignments and preseason trajectory mean doesn’t say much about it, either.
“There were certain plays that I wanted to see him on,” coach Brian Daboll said of starting Slayton against the Patriots. “I think he had the last three or four days [before the game] where he earned that opportunity . . . If you’re competing and you’re doing well in practice, our job is to give you opportunities.”
So Slayton’s future with the Giants remains nebulous, and as the 53-man roster starts to come into focus, his place on the team is just as fuzzy.
Was Thursday’s start really a reward or a chance for the Giants to showcase him as a trade piece? Would Slayton be running with the starters this week if he were not injured? Were his drops early in camp offset by his improved play last week? Does the new Giants regime, which did not draft him, still need to have its trust earned with more on the field?
So many questions to think about. Or in Slayton’s case, ignore.
“Whenever I’m out there, if it is against the ones, the twos, the threes, if it was East Orange High School, I’m just trying to play,” he said. “When you are a rookie, you don’t know. You know the possibility of getting cut is real, but after you are a rookie, you put things in perspective on how the NFL works, especially in camp. It’s all about competition. You know if you are competing at a high level, you’ll be where you need to be.”
Wherever that winds up being, Slayton will be there.
Notes & quotes: The Bengals reportedly won’t play their starters in Sunday’s preseason game at MetLife Stadium, but Daboll said the Giants almost certainly will. He said he had not yet decided how long they will play . . . DL Leonard Williams was on the field Monday for practice and did individual drills but no team reps . . . RB Gary Brightwell did not practice . . . DL coach Andre Patterson, who had been dealing with a medical issue, returned Monday but was not on the field for practice. Assistant coach Bryan Cox has been filling in for Patterson . . . CB Olaijah Griffin was claimed off waivers from the Bills. Griffin spent all of 2021 on the Bills’ practice squad.