It does not have to be a big deal to become a big play.
That is how the Giants envision Kadarius Toney slipping into their offensive flow. They can get him the ball innocently enough and he can turn it into something dangerous.
“It really takes buying into what you’re doing really, because any play could be a big play — not only by me, but by anybody,’’ Toney said.
Anybody, but mostly Toney. That is why the Giants took him with the No. 20-overall pick in the 2021 draft. They did not get to see much of his dynamism this summer. A bout with COVID-19, followed by a hamstring strain, kept him off the practice field and out of all three preseason games.
Toney got back just in time, though, and will be available for Sunday’s opener against the Broncos at MetLife Stadium. Given how little anyone has seen of him so far — and how little he says or reveals in interviews — Toney arrives into the NFL as somewhat of a mystery man, and expectations are all over the map for him.
“Early on, I really just expect to contribute as much as I can to the team,’’ he said. “There is not a really definite answer to that, I guess you could say. You’ve just got to go with the flow I guess, how everything goes so far.’’
While the focus was on all the offensive playmakers who were not on the field, Sterling Shepard quietly put together a strong summer. With the arrival of Kenny Golladay and departure of Golden Tate, Shepard is headed back into the slot, a place from which he excels. The comfort running routes from the inside could lead to a big season for Shepard.
“I love being on the inside just because you have more space.’’ Shepard said. “Not to say that I don’t love some stuff about the outside, but just my game matches up with the inside more just because it’s more quick, intermediate routes. It’s something that my skill set matches up with a little bit better than outside. I’ll be bouncing around everywhere, so I’m excited about that part of it.’’
CB Adoree’ Jackson is listed as questionable with an ankle issue, but he is expected to play. The signing of Jackson, a former first-round draft pick of the Titans, was a key addition to a defense that lacked a reliable No. 2 corner opposite James Bradberry.
WR C.J. Board was elevated from the practice squad. Board could be used as a kickoff returner.
“I think his role is very important because he adds another key veteran to our lineup,’’ Bradberry said. “He’s very smart, very athletic and he has that speed dynamic that we need on our defense.’’
There was plenty of expectation that Drew Lock would win the training camp competition with veteran Teddy Bridgewater and emerge as the Broncos’ starting quarterback. That did not happen. Bridgewater, who had 15 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions in 15 starts in 2020 for the Panthers, won the job.
“Well, it was a really tough decision,’’ Broncos coach Vic Fangio said. “They both had good camps. They both played pretty equally well, and it was a very difficult decision. We just went with Teddy. Just felt it was the right fit at this time to put him in there, but we have great confidence in Drew that if and when he has to go in there, we won’t lose anything.”