Giants' Kadarius Toney says playbook studies in isolation helped him catch up in training camp

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Kadarius Toney looks ball into hands during Giants practice
Kadarius Toney looks ball into hands during Giants practice

Giants first-round pick Kadarius Toney couldn’t make his training camp debut right away no matter how much he might have wanted to. Placed on the COVID-19 list, he was forced to quarantine up until July 27, and little by little, his workload was ramped up to be able to participate with his new teammates.

But during that time of isolation, Toney did what any good rookie heading into the NFL would do with some free time.

“Basically, going over the playbook. I want to contribute any way I can,” he told reporters at Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Thursday after a light Giants practice.

“It was pretty tough from a mental standpoint, but talking to Coach Judge every day, talking to the coaches, looking at the playbook every day, just knowing what I’m gonna do and the impact I’ll have when I come back, it wasn’t that bad.”

Staying on top of his studies is why Toney doesn’t feel like he’s behind the rest of the squad. He now gets to see what was on paper played out in front of him, so day by day, he improves.

What can’t be taught, though, is how Toney moves out on the field. Even in a light practice, you can’t help but gaze at him catching a punt and cutting to his right just to make a spin move all in one motion back left before lightly jogging. That’s the definition of a “twitchy” player, as special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey described Toney.

Head coach Joe Judge was actually the one kicking those low, soft punts to Toney while giving him some pointers along the way.

“That was kinda exciting because [being] hands on with your coach, that’s the kind relationship you would like to have. It felt pretty good out there,” Toney said.

Judge and the rest of the Giants understand what that twitchiness, speed, and natural elusive abilities can do for the team this season. Those skills are why GM Dave Gettleman wrote his name down at No. 20 to be selected by Big Blue back in April.

Where exactly he’ll fit into the offense is another question that may be answered in the first preseason game next Saturday against the Jets at MetLife Stadium. You can expect it to be lots of motions and moving him around the line of scrimmage.

“I have to know how to play inside and outside. It’s a daily progression just to get better at it,” he said.

Toney added he’s a “team player” and will do whatever his coaches need. And that’s the right mindset to have for a rookie, especially a first-round pick trying to make an immediate impact – no matter what it is on the field. The return game is one area. Working in the slot will certainly be an option. And maybe even the backfield with two tailback sets could be in order as well.

The options are endless for a gadget player like No. 89, and the Giants will soon see where he fits best as they continue to get to know Toney’s strengths and weaknesses.

“I’m looking forward to the way I’m going to be used,” he said.

Until then, Toney will continue studying that playbook and staying twitchy on the field.