While attendance at minicamp is not mandatory, Toney is a player who would probably benefit from the practice sessions. He’s a former first-round draft pick who struggled to make an impact as a rookie and hasn’t even received his playbook yet from new head coach Brian Daboll.
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“I feel like it’s very shortsighted,” Toomer told the Post. “Especially with a new coach and a whole new staff. I would tell him, ‘Get your butt in.’ … I wouldn’t say, ‘Get your butt in.’ … I’d say, ‘I think it’s a great idea for you to get to know everybody around you so not only can you feel comfortable with them, they can start to feel comfortable around you.’ You don’t want people’s mind racing, wondering where your mind’s at.”
Toney could learn a lot from Toomer, who won Super Bowl XLII with the Giants and is the franchise’s all-time leader in receptions (668), receiving yards (9,497) and receiving touchdowns (54). He produced five straight 1,000-yard seasons from 1999-2003 and started 141 of the 190 games in which he appeared with the team.
While Toomer was hard on Toney in his comments to the New York Post, the truth is that he had multiple teammates who did not attend certain practice sessions. The Post points out that both Plaxico Burress and Jeremy Shockey skipped the team’s voluntary offseason workouts. And those absences did not stop the Giants from eventually taking down the undefeated New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. Why should Toney be held to a different standard?
The big difference, according to Toomer, is that Burress and Shockey were veterans and Toney is still a fledgling receiver.
“If you’re a veteran and you know the system and you know everything, you don’t have to show up,” Toomer told the Post. “Toney is not a veteran. He doesn’t know how to play in this league yet. Somebody who says, ‘Dude, lighten up, it’s voluntary,’ does not understand the NFL. Nothing’s voluntary. It’s voluntary you go out there every day and prove what you can do.”
Toomer’s main argument is that becoming a great NFL player is a full-time commitment, and until Toney reports to practice, no one knows how committed he is to that goal. The Giants will hold more voluntary OTAs throughout the month of May, but nothing is mandatory until the team’s next minicamp from June 7-9.
If Toney is still missing at that point, then he and the Giants have a real problem.
Don’t Forget What Toney Can Do on The Field
Toney didn’t have a great rookie season. He only played in 10 games (four starts) and finished the year with 420 yards and zero touchdowns on 39 receptions.
There was one game against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 5, however, where we saw Toney’s full potential. He caught 10 passes in that game, recording a season-high 189 yards. He also had a seven-yard rush in that game and even attempted a pass. The first-round rookie actually looked like the playmaker New York drafted him to be.
One of the most memorable moments from that game was this route and reception against Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs, who ended up being a first-team All-Pro in 2021.
Toney was also ejected from this game for throwing a punch, so even when he’s in the zone, I guess you have to take the good with the bad.
The Giants’ Last 1,000-Yard WR? Odell Beckham Jr.
Since trading Odell Beckham Jr. away to the Cleveland Browns in 2019, the Giants have struggled to find a wide receiver who can consistently produce for them. They’ve now gone three straight seasons without a 1,000-yard receiver. Darius Slayton led the team with 740 yards in 2019 and 751 yards in 2020, then Kenny Golladay led the team with a paltry 521 yards last season.
Toney was the first wide receiver the Giants drafted with a first-round pick since spending one on Beckham in 2016, so it’s fair to say the team expects that level of production from him. And it’s hard to imagine him reaching that level this season, if he doesn’t even have the playbook yet.