New York Giants Kalif Raymond
(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

New York Giants WR Kalif Raymond is one of the many players trying to make a lasting impression against the Patriots and earn a roster spot.

The New York Giants have a deep and talented wide receiving core that has made plays throughout training camp and the preseason. One of those receivers is third-year receiver, Kalif Raymond. He has had a solid training camp and showed last week against the Jets that he can excel as a kick returner.

But he knows he must have another solid outing against the Patriots if he’s going to make the final roster.

Raymond signed with the Denver Broncos in May 2016 as an undrafted free agent out of Holy Cross. He spent time on their practice squad until they waived him on Sept. 2 of 2017. He was then signed by the New York Jets the following day and stayed with them for a few weeks until they waived him on Sept. 26. The Giants then signed him to their practice squad on Oct. 11 and then they put him on their active roster on Nov. 14.

So Raymond knows how life in the NFL can change in an instant, which is why Thursday night’s game against the Patriots is a pivotal moment in his NFL career.

Earlier this week I got a chance to speak with Raymond to talk about how much it would mean for him to be a Giant and what receivers coach Tyke Tolbert has brought to the team.

JL: Have the coaches given any indication on how much you’ll play on Thursday night?

KR: They haven’t and I’m kind of glad they didn’t. I plan on playing the whole game or at least that’s how I’m looking at it. I’m going into the game with a mindset of I have to make a roster spot. So that’s how I’m looking at it because that’s what I need to do, I have to go out there and make some plays and keep me relevant and keep me here.

JL: You’re familiar with coach Tyke Tolbert from your time with the Broncos. What kind of coach is he, and what kind of energy he brings to the receiving corps when he runs down the sideline when you guys make plays in practice?

KR: He does bring a lot of energy and helps keeps us energized. One thing about coach Tolbert is that he’s played the position before, so he knows the little stuff that will get you prepared, whether it’s the conditioning, whether it’s the little stuff in your routes to set up defensive backs. He’s very big on those little things and that’s why a lot of the guys here are making plays and creating a lot of separation because he implements those little things into our drills. Let’s take the drills to the field is one of his biggest sayings. So when you see guys do the little stuff to get open that comes from coach Tyke, so it’s great having him here.

JL: What would it mean for you to make the Giants final roster?

KR: It would be huge, especially with me being here on the tail end of last year and being here through training camp, my teammates are like my brothers. When you feel this camaraderie and I don’t know if you guys (the media) can tell but practice is a little different with the energy and vibe, it’s just more cohesiveness. So to be part of a unit like this is huge. So I want to be here, this is a great organization and we have a great thing going. We have a full ahead of steam heading into this season so it would be great to be a part of that.

JL: One last question, what do you like to do before a game? Is there a type of music you like to listen to, to get you in game mode?

KR: I definitely do listen to music before games. The last couple of years sometimes I was too emotional before a game and the emotions were getting the best of me because I wanted to do well so bad. Not saying that I don’t want it anymore, but I noticed that my emotions were getting the best of me. So learned how to calm down and to be into the game and let the game come to me and don’t speed up the game more than I have to. So the music that helps keep me calm is reggae. I listen to a lot of reggae because it’s calming and it doesn’t speed up the game. It makes me realize that I’ve played this game before, I’ve caught a bunch of passes, it gets me in a mind frame of let’s slow it down and make the game as slow as you can make it so that you can go out there and play ball. So I like to listen to a lot of reggae and look at the field in pregame because if you step on the field for the first time with the lights on the field looks really big.  But if you go out there in pregame and just look around you can see how small the field is and then you realize it’s just football and it calms me down, then when the lights come on I’m ready to ball.

JL: Well good luck to you on Thursday night.

KR: Thank you.

Jason's first love was football while growing up in northern New Jersey. For the past three years, he has covered the New York Giants, as well as several boxing events along the East Coast.