New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones and wide receiver Darius Slayton have had a connection since they both entered the league as rookies in 2019, Jones as an early first-round pick and Slayton as a Day 3 selection.
In his first two seasons with the Giants, Slayton racked up 98 completions for 1,491 yards and 11 touchdowns over 30 games. Last season, Slayton started only five games, catching just 26 passes for 339 yards and two scores. Jones missed the finally six games of the season with a neck injury.
When the new regime of general manger Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll began in February, Slayton was not high on the Giants’ depth chart. He was looking up at Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard and Kadarius Toney.
Since then, a lot has happened. Shepard was lost early on for the season with a torn ACL, Toney was traded two weeks ago and Golladay has been a total bust. Enter Slayton.
After sitting out the first three weeks, Slayton has gradually earned his way into the mix, starting the last four games. On Sunday, he caught three of four four targets for 95 yards, including a 54-yard touchdown, on which he displayed exceptional speed.
On Monday, Slayton spoke to reporters about his time in the doghouse.
“It was obviously a little different. I hadn’t really experienced that yet in my career so far. I kind of just approached it like everything else — made sure I was on my plays, made sure I was keeping my body right, things like that. Making sure I was going to be ready when my opportunity came,” he said.
Slayton’s opportunity is here — again. He and Jones are back in synch and he discussed that synergy with the media.
“I think just the familiarity. Literally our first day as New York Giants was together. Took a lot of reps together our rookie year; we were kind of on the second and third team, both worked our way up to the first team and obviously have played three going on four seasons now together. I think that familiarity helps us be able to make it work despite whatever is changing around us,” he said.
The Giants passed the ball just 17 times on Sunday. Slayton was asked if this team was built to throw the ball 40-50 times in a game.
“We’ll find out when it comes to that, won’t we?” he said.
If the Giants do turn back to passing at a higher clip, head coach Brian Daboll is more than confident in Jones and Slayton.
“Those guys work a lot together during the week and then in the offseason. They throw a lot after practice. Again, reading a receiver’s body language and having trust in them that they’re going to be where they’re supposed to be and make a play on the ball when you throw it to them, I think, is really important in quarterback play and receiver – call it skill play,” Daboll said on Monday.
“You’d like to have as many talented players as you can (that) make good chemistry with one another. The only way you get that is by practicing, being out there and doing as much as you can do to improve that area.”
Maybe Golladay should spend a little extra time working with Jones, too.