It’s time for the Giants to release receiver Kadarius Toney

from Ralph Vacchiano
FOX Sports NFC East Writer

Saquon Barkley was notable for giants on Sunday, showing everyone that he can indeed return to his old form. He carried them, making up nearly half of their total offense.

And the Giants can’t keep asking him to do that.

The truth is, Barkley needs help if the Giants are going to build on the momentum of their dramatic 21-20 win at Tennessee on Sunday. He needs a Robin for his Batman, or at least an Ant Man for his Thor. And the unfortunate reality is that the Giants don’t have many players on their roster good enough to help him consistently.

Saquon Barkley sparks Giants comeback win

Running back Saquon Barkley had a big day Sunday, with 194 total yards and a touchdown in the Giants’ 21-20 win over the Titans.

But they have one. And it’s past time for new coach Brian Daboll to let him out of the doghouse. This Sunday, when the 1-0 Giants return to the Meadowlands to face the Carolina Panthers, it’s time for the new regime to let second-year receiver Kadarius Toney play.

It’s easy to forget, after watching him do mostly nothing in the season opener, that Toney was the Giants’ first-round pick a year ago, and in the short time he played, he looked like one of the electrifying that they have. had in years. His rookie season was marred by injuries, there were questions about his work ethic and how well he knew the playbook. Of course, it was a very difficult year.

Things apparently weren’t much better this summer. Toney again battled injuries and never seemed to win over the new coaching staff. That result saw him play in just seven games in the win over the Titans, even though Daboll insisted Toney was healthy and had no problems with the playbook at all.

But here’s the thing — and really that should be the only thing about an offense as talent-challenged as the Giants: Toney only touched the ball twice Sunday, and those were two of the most exciting plays in the game. He once soared for 19 feet in an end-around. The next time he pulled back to throw to a wide receiver option, but pulled the ball down after seeing the coverage, ran all the way down the field and somehow returned nothing on the four yards.

It was reminiscent of how he often turned nothing into something when he was healthy last season — especially in his final game in Dallas, when he was like the Energizer Bunny tearing through the Cowboys’ defense for 10 catches and 189 yards. When he did, everyone wondered why then-head coach Joe Judge and his 1970s-stuck offensive coordinator Jason Garrett had kept Toney out for so long early in the season.

And even though it’s only been one game, the same question is right for Daboll now. His top receiver Sunday was Richie James (five receptions, 59 yards), who had 38 catches in his first three NFL seasons in San Francisco before missing last year with a knee injury. Veteran Sterling Shepard had the big play — a 65-yard catch — but he’s 29 years old, coming off a torn Achilles and nearly getting cut this spring. Kenny Golladay (two catches for 22 yards) continues to be a poor excuse for a No. 1 receiver. 1. The Giants even gave 27 snaps to star shortstop David Sills, who has two catches in his four years in the league. And now 5-foot-8 rookie Wan’Dale Robinson, who was supposed to be a big part of this offense, is out with a knee injury.

And still Toney sits.

None of them, by the way, have ever delivered the hitting that Toney did last season, or that he did in his two Sunday afternoon performances. The only other electrifying player the Giants have is Barkley, who paced the team with 164 rushing yards and 30 receptions.

He can certainly do it all, but he doesn’t have to do it alone.

And he wouldn’t have to, if Daboll would just bail Toney out of jail.

“We had more than just seven games for him [on Sunday] but they weren’t called,” Daboll said Monday. “We’ll see what happens this week. The guys that were there, we had faith. We have faith in Kadarius. Our receiver position is a competitive situation and will be evaluated each week.”

The idea that Toney’s plays simply “were not called” is a passive excuse, considering that Daboll could have insisted that offensive coordinator Mike Kafka call them, or he could have made sure that Toney was more involved in the game plan. game during the week. Clearly, this is about more than just a “competitive situation” and not about “personnel pools,” so Daboll tried to explain Toney’s lack of playing time after the game.

It was a deliberate choice for a reason that Daboll is choosing not to make public. That’s fine, except his stubbornness is leaving what could be the best weapon in the Giants’ passing game off the field.

And this Giants team simply cannot afford to stubbornly lose such a talent. He has to play.

“We’ll see,” Daboll said when asked about Toney after the game. “We’re going to do whatever we think we need to do for that week. We’re going to find ways to get him into the game. Maybe it’s less, maybe it’s more. Every week is different. Who’s inactive can be different. It depends on everything leading up to it, and that’s why we make those decisions.”

This is a coach’s word salad that doesn’t clarify anything. He sounds like he’s talking about his fifth receiver, not a first-round pick who might be the most talented player outside of Barkley on the team.

The Giants could use a player like Toney as they head into a three-game homestand against three possible opponents: the Panthers, the Cowboys without Dak Prescott and the Bears the next three weeks. With a little more juice added to the Giants’ offense, there’s no reason they can’t get through that 2-2 or even 3-1 stretch.

Toney has that kind of juice. He is a lightning bolt when he is part of the action. He and Barkley could end up being quite the dynamic offensive duo.

There’s only one way for the Giants to really find out. So it’s time for Daboll to cut him loose, get him off the field and give Toney a chance to show what he can do.

Ralph Vacchiano is the NFC East reporter for FOX Sports, covering the Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. He spent the previous six years covering the Giants and The Jets for SNY TV in New York, and before that he spent 16 years covering the Giants and the NFL for the New York Daily News. He can be found on Twitter at @RalphVacchiano.

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