Kadarius Toney believes he’s ready to make his NFL debut.
The question is whether the Giants coaching staff believes the rookie receiver is ready despite not having played in a single preseason game and having his first training camp stunted by contracting COVID-19 and by a hamstring injury that still has listed him as “limited’’ in practice.
Toney, flashing a smile that featured some shiny dental diamond bling, was asked after Wednesday’s practice if there were any reason he wouldn’t play against the Broncos Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
“Not unless you want to go make one up,’’ he said.
Asked if he’s ready to play, he said, “That’s on the coaches. I’m here to play, I’m here to do my job, so it’s whatever they say. I’m excited. I’m ready to play, really.’’
Toney, though, acknowledged that the setbacks have “mentally’’ been “frustrating, because I want to be out there producing on the field, not being on the sidelines with the fans. I’ve come to play football. If I’m not doing that, I’m not really myself.’’
Toney’s teammates are anxious to see him play in a game.
“Gifted athlete, [has] exceptional ball skills, [a] quick twitch, great burst,’’ Giants safety Jabrill Peppers said Wednesday. “I haven’t seen him open up full-speed yet, but from the times that I did see him running in little, short spaces he looks pretty fast. Whenever he’s ready to get back out there, I’ll be excited to see him out there playing.’’
Asked if, in practice, he can tell whether or not Toney is game-ready, Peppers said, “You kind of can, yes. But you’ll know once you put him out there in a game setting with all the extra stresses that the game brings, that’s how you really get your tell-tale. You can kind of tell if a guy is ready in practice and training camp, but the game is the ultimate tell.’’
Asked if it’s “realistic” to see Toney play Sunday and have a “significant role” despite not having been on the field much this summer, coach Joe Judge said, “I’d say in terms of significant, I look at that not so much as volume, but production. I’d say it is realistic for him to have a significant role based on how he practices this week.
“We’re seeing his health improve, we’ve seen him do a lot of things with the team as we’ve kept on moving. He’s handled the installs very well. I’d say for a player who hasn’t seen obviously preseason games or a lot of significant time volume-wise on the field with the guys through preseason, he’s been able to go out there and manage it and execute in practice what we’ve asked him to.”
Said Toney: “I can impact [the game] in a lot of ways, but it depends on what they want me to do. I’m really looking forward to going out there and impacting [the game] as much as I can as soon as I can.”