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The Giants’ current controversy magnet had a Week 1 that managed to echo two others who previously played the role.

Kadarius Toney had two rushes for 23 yards in Sunday’s exhilarating 21-20 win over the Titans. He busted a 19-yard run on an outside sweep, then dipped and dodged to turn an aborted gadget play into an entertaining 4-yard gain. Shades of the tantalizing playmaking ability Odell Beckham Jr. once displayed on a regular basis.

But Toney also left the field promptly after both touches. And he only played seven snaps in the game while Richie James played 42, David Sills had 27 and Wan’Dale Robinson left with a knee injury early. It was somewhat reminiscent of when the Giants just stopped playing Eli Apple during the 2017 season, preferring to role with random practice squadders instead.

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So here we are again. More Toney drama. It seems like it would be a stretch to say he is in head coach Brian Daboll’s doghouse. But he is certainly not in favor.


“We had personnel packs,” Daboll told reporters when asked about Toney’s role. “We had personnel groups for all our receivers. We’ll do that for every game. Maybe it’s more, maybe it’s less. It just depends on what we’re calling and what [offensive coordinator Mike Kafka is] calling and what we see. And he’s in plenty of them. I thought the plays that he was in on, he did his job.”

Toney’s young NFL career to date has been a wild ride. Former general manager Dave Gettleman overdrafted him in 2021 after a trade-down that allowed Micah Parson to go to the Cowboys — a defensive difference-maker they could certainly use right now. Then his rookie season was a cavalcade of fleeting on-field brilliance, injuries and assorted nonsense. Things did not get off to a great start with the new regime either. Toney was an early no-show from the offseason program and his name was dangled in trade rumors.

Current GM Joe Schoen protested about the existence of Toney trade talk reports. But if you listened closely, he never actually denied they happened. It seemed like a threat to compel Toney to get on board. And it seemed to have worked. Toney was hampered by injuries again during the offseason and parts of training camp, but he was in the fold and the silly stuff had stopped. And now he got seven snaps in a game where James had seven times as many.

If this is a durability issue, there is not much Daboll and Schoen can do. All they do is grapple with Gettleman-made messes. Him drafting a diminutive wideout made of glass with the No. 20-overall pick is just another brick on the load. If the Giants are open to trading Toney, they need to feature him to gin up interest. And if they just don’t trust him or he needs to show them more, we would argue Darius Slayton is more deserving of having a jersey on game day at this juncture.

“We’ll see, whatever we think we’ve got to do for that week,” Daboll said when asked if Toney’s showing could gain him more work.

“We’ve got a bunch of receivers active. We’ll figure out ways to put him in the game. Maybe it’s less. Maybe it’s more. Each week is different. Who’s inactive might be different. I think it’s it depends on everything leading up to it. And that’s why we make those decisions.”

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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @JamesKratch.

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.