Kadarius Toney says ‘I never really questioned anything’ on Giants’ trade talks

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Kadarius Toney said Friday that he didn’t react to the Giants making phone calls looking to trade him this spring.

“I never kinda reacted,” Toney said in his first interview since Nov. 10. “I talk to the people that’s in the building. So I never really questioned anything, so.”

Toney said he missed the start of the Giants’ offseason program for “personal reasoning” and “don’t think I really gotta explain it.”

The second-year wide receiver did allude to the uncertainty of his first full NFL offseason, though, and said it was great to open training camp with his highlight-reel touchdown catch from Daniel Jones.

“There was a lot of speculation, I guess you could say,” Toney, 23, said. “I’m just ready to show what I can do.”

There is no denying that Toney, the Giants’ 20th overall pick in 2021, is capable of a lot when he’s on a football field. But one of his problems is he’s often injured and not on it.

Toney missed lots of practice and game time from May through December of last year due to a laundry list of injuries: a hamstring, ankle, thumb, quad, oblique, shoulder and two positive Covid tests.

Then he underwent a minor knee procedure this offseason that sidelined him all spring.

He declined to reveal if that was done to correct a new injury or one that was lingering from last season. He did admit that while he felt his “relationship was always there” with his teammates, “it’s just the availability probably wasn’t there.”

Now he’s raving that Brian Daboll’s offense is much friendlier to receivers than Jason Garrett’s was.

“Flexibility. It’s more open,” Toney said. “With route-running, it’s not as pen and paper. Instead of just running it technical[ly] – It gives me a chance to win [against the corner] instead of just having to do it a certain way every time.”

With freedom comes responsibility, though. Toney made at least two route-running mistakes during Friday’s practice: one during a walkthrough and one in a live 11-on-11 period.

He said he took advantage of the offense’s flexibility on his soaring TD catch against corner Aaron Robinson on Wednesday, though.

“It was a conversion route that I just turned into a fade,” Toney said. “It’s just all about really I guess natural ability. One of ‘em made a play. That’s just the mindset.”

He called his tumultuous rookie season “something to build off of.” And he said it was “pretty great” to hear Daboll play his music under his rap alias, Yung Joka, on the Giants’ loudspeakers during Thursday’s stretch period.

“It kinda had me juiced up. I appreciate him doing that,” Toney said. “It shows his willingness to build a relationship with me.”

Toney said his goal for the 2022 season is to “do whatever I can to help the team in whatever way I can.”

Listening to him Friday, it seems like he understands that staying on the field is the first step toward doing that.

PRACTICE NOTES

Starting center Jon Feliciano, tight ends Ricky Seals-Jones and Jordan Akins, defensive lineman Nick Williams and inside linebacker Darrian Beavers did not practice on Friday. The Giants said all absences were either heat/hydration related or due to “camp bumps and bruises.” Feliciano’s value increased in his absence. Jamil Douglas struggled in his place, with a bad early snap for a fumble. And third-stringer Ben Bredeson had a bad snap in a walkthrough to Daniel Jones, too … Darius Slayton stayed late after practice to work on the JUGS machine alone after falling completely out of the first-string wide receiver rotation for a day … Veteran edge Jihad Ward left the sideline to retrieve a football about 25 yards downfield after an early incomplete pass. The Giants have plenty of employees who retrieve loose footballs, but Ward set a positive example that he’s not above anything, even as a player frequently starting or running with the first team … Defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale used a six-DB package on Friday that featured safeties Xavier McKinney, Julian Love and Dane Belton, and corners Adoree Jackson, Aaron Robinson and Darnay Holmes. Love played closer to the line of scrimmage. Tae Crowder was the middle linebacker with Kayvon Thibodeaux and Oshane Ximines on the edges and Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams on the inside … Edge Quincy Roche has been eased into his workload after an unknown lower-body ailment limited him this offseason. But he did see at least one snap with the first team defense on Friday … Second-string left tackle Devery Hamilton is having a tough camp. Elerson Smith beat him clean for a sack on Friday … Rookie left guard Josh Ezeudu, who spent some time at left tackle this spring while Andrew Thomas was out, rotated in at LT again during a walkthrough period next to first-string left guard Shane Lemieux at one point Friday. So Ezuedu’s cross-training seemingly will continue, and he might end up being their backup to Thomas.