The Giants’ new regime rapprochement with Kadarius Toney is paying off early

The Giants’ new regime rapprochement with Kadarius Toney is paying off early

The song is called “Warrior” from his “Warrior 3” mixtape, and when it blared through the speakers that lined the field as the Giants stretched out for practice on day two of training camp, the writer and creator of the music was stunned.

Yung Joka, the artist, was shocked to hear himself, as was second-year Giants wide receiver Kadarius Toney, who are one and the same.

“It just surprised me, it kind of juiced me,” Toney said Friday. “I was like, ‘OK, OK, OK.’ I appreciate her for that because it showed me a willingness to be able to have a good relationship with myself, you know what I’m saying?”

A little can go a long way, and the inclusion of Toney’s hip-hop offering meant something for the 23-year-old, who was coming off a tumultuous and disappointing rookie season. Toney and trust don’t go hand in hand, as far as his instant acceptance from those he doesn’t know. The previous coaching regime, led by Joe Judge, tried to make it work with Toney, who was selected No. 20 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, but he was injured so many times and wasn’t fully ready for what the NFL life goes.

Much better for Toney so far. He’s healthy and keen on the new staff led by Brian Daboll.

“I think he’s a very loyal guy,” said Daboll. “And you have to build trust with KT. And he had to build trust in me. Really no different than a lot of guys. Trust is probably one of the most important things in any relationship you can build.

“I told you from day one that I was very happy with KT, with his approach, especially with his personality because that’s what’s important to me. We saw him in college. We rated him. He has tremendous ability. He is smart. We move him quite a bit. He is a good young player who we will develop in every way we can on and off the pitch.”

Daboll said he asked Toney to send him some samples of his music during the off-season.

“Some I liked better than others,” said Daboll. “Talent guy.”

Kadarius Toney at Giants training camp on July 29, 2022.
Kadarius Toney at Giants training camp on July 29, 2022.
Corey SIPkin/New York Post

Some of Yung Joka’s songs were played in the spring, but Toney didn’t expect the training camp playlist to include his works.

“I think that’s pretty awesome, I’m not going to lie,” Toney said then turned around. “I’m concentrating on the ball right now.”

Oh yes, ball. He owned the highlight of day one of camp, jumping and securing a touchdown reception on a Daniel Jones lob, with Toney defeating cornerback Aaron Robinson’s strong coverage. There were other notable moments, but also some rough patches where Toney looks like he’s still trying to figure out the new offense.

Around this time last year, Toney was struggling with a hamstring problem that limited his work at camp and sparked a worrying array of physical ailments that often kept him out of practice and, as it turned out, six games into his rookie season.

When he played? only blinks. That’s all. He was a revelation in Week 4 as the Giants beat the Saints in New Orleans with six receptions for 78 yards. A week later, he was an electric blur in a Dallas loss, with 10 catches for 189 yards, shredding the Cowboys with abandon. It was a glimpse of what the Giants hope Toney can be — once he smoothes the rough edges.

“Just something to build on,” Toney said.

A minor knee operation kept Toney off the field in the spring, but he’s back in action this summer. He admitted he’s more comfortable in year #2.

The new coaching staff suits Toney better.

“I think it’s good that they came here, honestly,” he said.

Toney likes the new offense because it allows receivers more “flexibility,” as he calls it. He described the approach for 2021 as “pen and paper,” meaning recipients had to execute routes exactly as envisioned in the playbook. Now? There’s room for more instinctive adjustments as long as the receiver and Jones are in sync.

Kadarius Toney makes a jumping catch attempt on Zyon Gilbert at Giants training camp.
Kadarius Toney makes a jumping catch attempt on Zyon Gilbert at Giants training camp.
Corey SIPkin/NY Post

“It gives you a chance to win instead of having to do it a certain way every time,” Toney said. “Danny is also all about the chemistry. The coaches can only design the game, we have to execute it. It takes a lot of communication, especially knowing who you’re running your routes in front of, what you’re looking for when you’re looking at defense, stuff like that.

It’s early but Toney looks and sounds like a new guy.

“I’m preparing,” he said, “to show what I can do.”

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