Some things we know for sure about the Giants’ wide receiver corps: There are a lot of them, they make a lot of money collectively and they feature some intriguing pieces.
Beyond that, it’s all one big TBD on a team that hopes to transition from bad to the general direction of better under first-year coach/offensive whiz Brian Daboll. The good news for the Giants is those pieces are beginning to come together as the Sept. 11 opener against the Titans draws closer, even if questions remain.
Before practice on Thursday, GM Joe Schoen said he expects Kadarius Toney to be ready for the Titans and that he expects Darius Slayton still to be on the roster then. He added that Kenny Golladay was set back in the spring because of a “procedure” but that his healthy summer was encouraging to all.
So in theory quarterback Daniel Jones will have Golladay, Toney, Slayton and rookie Wan’Dale Robinson available to him from the start, with veteran Sterling Shepard expected back sometime early in the season.
There are two other receivers on the roster in David Sills V and Richie James.
All in all, not a bad group on paper, even if Golladay and Toney did not catch a touchdown pass between them in their first year as Giants in 2021 and Slayton still could be on the trading block thanks to his $2.5 million salary-cap hit.
Toney showed promise as a big-play threat as a rookie in catching 39 passes for 420 yards while being limited to 10 games because of injury and illness.
He was hurt again early in camp this summer and missed the entire preseason. But he repeatedly said on Thursday that he is ready to go for Sept. 11.
Asked about missing preseason reps, he said, “At the end of the day, there’s nothing I could do about that. I can just be what I can and do what I can when I can.”
Toney declined to go into detail about his health situation, other than to say it has been resolved. He said he takes good care of himself physically, but that “football is unpredictable.”
“You can get hurt running routes on air out there,” he said. “It’s not really hard to get hurt. It’s all about taking care of your body, all about recovery. I guess I’ll have to do a better job of doing that.”
Asked if he is eager to put last season behind him, he said, “It’s already behind me. I never really thought about it past the last game [in 2021].”
Golladay declined to detail what the “procedure” Schoen referenced involved but said he feels good now.
Eyebrows were raised when he played extensively in the preseason finale against the Jets, but he said he was not miffed, citing how many receivers were lost to injury in that game. “It wasn’t any big deal going out there to me,” he said.
Golladay also addressed a play against the Jets for which he was widely criticized on social media for seeming not to give full effort in blocking.
He said he had to “tempo off the line” early in the play on a run-pass option and ended up in a bad position.
When it was noted that some fans wonder how excited he is about the game because of his laid-back demeanor, Golladay said, “What do you want me to do?” A reporter answered, “Be yourself.”
Said Golladay: “That’s what I’m doing. I’m being myself.”
Golladay had 37 catches for 521 yards in 14 games last season after signing a four-year, $72 million contract.
Slayton said he was glad still to be a Giant, his only pro team in four NFL seasons. “I can play ball,” he said. “I think I’ve shown that in my time here.”
What if he lands on the inactive list because other receivers play roles on special teams? “That’ll have to be a bridge I cross when I get there,” he said.
Regarding the notion of moving Slayton, Schoen said, “If there are opportunities available that we need to pursue, then we then will, whether it’s Darius or anybody else. Everybody’s competing on a daily basis for their position. We want the best 53.”