Giants success relieves underperforming WRs Toney, Golladay

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The New York Giants manage without the production of Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney

Can you name everyone in the Giants reception hall wide?
Image: Getty Images

The Giants are 2-0 and their fans are buzzing like a 10-year-old who just drank a gallon of blue raspberry ice cream. Brian Daboll can’t be wrong. Daniel Jones and the rest of the Joe Judge-David Gettleman remnants are really what’s holding the team back. If only they could get production from Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney, they could compete for a Wild Card spot. The defense is fiery and has an undefinable quality, a veritable sum of its gritty parts.

I got it, along with the other 50 text messages on the Giants thread. The smell emanating from New York no longer smells like a garbage day at the end of August. All it took to change the culture of the last five years was two wins against mediocre to probably bad teams. Daboll’s decision to go for two in Week 1 is considered genius in hindsight, but if Saquon Barkley hadn’t played with the spade pass, the bet would have been widely reprimanded.

The win over Carolina didn’t require a 13-point comeback, which counts as an improvement. They were good at fumbles on the opening kickoff and Panther drive that followed, but came away with two field goals. Had Baker Mayfield been better than below average, all four of the Giants’ goals would have been lamented for not being touchdowns.

That’s not what happened though, and everyone can have a good laugh at the randos grabbing handfuls of floating Dimes change. Richie James leads the team in receiving, David Sills V caught three passes for 37 yards, and the only player we’ve heard of to catch a touchdown is Sterling Shepard. (Raise your hand if you know Daniel Bellinger and Chris Myarick, the other two guys to carry TDs this season.)

Golladay, he on a four-year, $72 million contract, played two shots on Sunday. It’s unclear how injured Toney’s hamstrings are, but he was a first-round pick a year ago, showed flashes and has two touches ā€” both runs ā€” all season. New GM Joe Schoen’s second-round pick, Kentucky wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson, lost to Carolina with an injury after catching a pass for five yards in Game 1.

Golladay, who is perpetually injured, is in good health; he just doesn’t play. There were rumors that he emptied his locker after Sunday’s game, but Julian Love, who has a locker next to Golladay, said the receiver was “locked up” and “going about his business”. He admitted it was a “weird situation,” and that’s the problem.

Everything out of New York about Daboll’s personal decisions paints a meritocracy, with nothing gifted to any player, no matter how much he’s paid. I understand the motivations behind this thought process and largely agree with its approach. The team went 4-13 last year, so no one deserves preferential treatment.

However, if the ball doesn’t bounce Daboll’s way a few times in the first two contests, he gets the Nathaniel Hackett treatment. Probably not as bad – Hackett comes across as someone who knows all the special moves in mortal combat but panics and resorts to mashing pimples during the real thing. Either way, there would always be moans from the New York media about a botched two-point conversion and too many field goals when combined with the receiver room and everything else (including top-five draft pick Kayvon Thibodeaux sitting the first two games with an injury).

It was announced that Daboll is FaceTiming with free agent wide receivers, and that’s a little worrying considering they had the whole camp to figure that out. There is a lot of speed and play between Toney, Robinson and Golladay. Whether Jones can use it is another thing, but it’s up to the coach to at least try to make it work.

The Giants have 364 passing yards this season, good for fourth-worst in the NFL. Cooper Rush, the Cowboys starter-turned-backup, arrived from Pecan Lodge with a chest still under his fingernails and threw more yards against the Bengals than Jones did against the Titans or Panthers.

Eventually, the Giants will have to go over 200 passing yards to win a game. Does Daboll fire a bizarro Gettleman and de-arm his QB to intentionally end the Jones era in New York? The last two years have been all about surrounding Jones with a cast — other than the all-important offensive line — that’s too good to fail, and it looks like Daboll is arming his quarterback with a spoon, a pointy stick, and Saquon.

After what felt like eons of assists and draws in third place, I appreciated the offensive creativity that was injected into this iteration of Giants football. I loved the play-action deployment with Barkley on the flat in the third-and-six that gave Jones options to seal the win over Carolina. The shovel pass for a two-point conversion was brave but executed just well enough to give Barkley room to miss a defender.

Daboll has the makings of a good coach. In order to become a great trainer, he must maximize all resources on the roster, even if he must erase the greasy footprints of Gettleman and Judge.

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