EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Kenny Golladay will not mourn the passing of 2021.
Although the fifth-year wide receiver signed a lucrative contract as a free agent in the spring, it was not a year to savor. The Giants have won just four of their first 15 games. Golladay missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury and three games and most of a fourth after hurting his knee in Dallas on Oct. 10. Most glaringly, he will close the calendar year without a single touchdown two seasons after leading the NFL with 11 and playing in the Pro Bowl.
On a Zoom call with reporters today, Golladay said he's never had a season in his life without a touchdown. He scored two last season, despite playing in just five games for the Detroit Lions.
"Of course, it's been kind of frustrating just with the ups and downs, not being able to be available for the entire season," Golladay said. "It's frustrating, but I'm just going to continue to come to work each and every week."
Golladay leads the Giants with 477 receiving yards, despite ranking sixth with 31 catches. He has a team-best 70 targets and his 15.4-yard average is the highest among the eight Giants with at least 22 receptions. But he doesn't want to end the season with a zero in the touchdown column. Golladay is healthy and believes he can finish the season strong.
"My body does feel pretty good right now," he said. "Frustrated? Yeah, of course. I think anybody would get a little frustrated, but it's a lot that goes on with trying to get receptions and everything. Everybody plays a role in it.
"I can't go and change anything. It has been a lot of ups and downs. Like I said, the only thing I can do is just keep coming in to work."
Coach Joe Judge, the Giants' assistant coaches and the team's quarterbacks have all consistently praised Golladay.
"I think Kenny's continuing to try to work and refine his craft every time he goes on the field," said senior offensive assistant Freddie Kitchens, who has been the play-caller since Jason Garrett was dismissed on Nov. 23. "Everybody wants more opportunities. Everybody wants to be successful in those opportunities. We're going to continue to try to do the same thing. We want to try to get the ball to Kenny. We want to try to get the ball to Saquon (Barkley). We want to try to get the ball to all these guys that have the ability to make plays. Kenny's not unlike any of the others."
Kitchens was asked if Golladay is getting open enough or if the Giants need to get him the ball more often.
"I think that's a week-to-week thing," Kitchens said. "I'd say probably looking at the tape and see, and I know that's what we do every week. We try to make improvements every week as we go through it. He tries to make improvements, everybody's trying to improve, and I think Kenny's done a good job of kind of just staying the course and trying to make the plays that are there to be made.
"Kenny's a good player and, like I said, everybody's trying to get better and compete. Kenny competes every day on the field, whether it's the practice field or the game field. He tries to do the best he can and we're going to continue to ask that of him and he's going to continue to give us the best that he can."
Golladay scored 21 touchdowns in his four seasons with the Lions. In 2018-19, he missed just one game and caught 135 passes for 2,253 yards and 16 scores. Golladay wants nothing more than to reach that level of production in Giants blue.
He has two more opportunities to get into the end zone, Sunday in Chicago and Jan. 9 at home vs. Washington.
"To be honest, with it being two games left, I think as of right now – I even said to some of the guys, 'Let's just go out there and put good stuff on tape,'" Golladay said. "I think that's all you can really ask for right now. I know that's what I try to do at least, go out there with my best foot forward every time and just try to put good stuff on tape."
*Today's Reserve/COVID-19 list tally for the Giants was three on and one off.
Wide receiver Darius Slayton, tackle Korey Cunningham and practice squad linebacker Omari Cobb all tested positive and joined the list. Cobb was re-signed to the practice squad yesterday after a three-month stint ended on Christmas Day.
They join defensive linemen Dexter Lawrence and Danny Shelton and defensive back Julian Love on the ever-changing list.
On the plus side, tackle Nate Solder was activated off the list and returned to practice on a limited basis. Solder missed the game in Philadelphia after starting the first 14 games this season and 83 consecutive regular-season and postseason games for which he was eligible dating back to Week 2 of the 2016 season.
"He's going to ramp up with the trainers today coming off the COVID deal, which is just standard procedure," Judge said. "We'll see where he is moving around-wise. There's an opportunity for him maybe to get involved in the latter part of practice and team stuff, but we got to see where he's at physically. I wouldn't say anything today would rule him in or out of the game on Sunday."
Solder's replacement in Philly, Matt Peart, tore his ACL, which gave Cunningham a chance to see his first extended action. Now Cunningham is out, but Solder has returned.
*Peart and rookie running back Gary Brightwell (neck) were placed on injured reserve.
*Linebacker Trent Harris was waived. He played in four games this season and had two tackles on defense and five on special teams.
*Center Billy Price missed his second day of practice for personal reasons.
"Billy and his family are dealing with a family matter," Judge said. "I'm not going to go into it. It's not mine to disclose, but his family has our full support as an organization. We've all talked to him. Our concern is for the personal wellbeing of Billy as a person, and his family's wellbeing is a primary concern right now. We'll deal with Billy as we go through the week, and we'll know more as we go."
Judge doesn't know if Price will be available to play in Chicago. He said Matt Skura, Wes Martin and Ben Bredeson have all worked at center. Skura has started the last 12 games at left guard.
*Wide receiver John Ross (knee/COVID ramp up) joined the did not practice list today. It included wideouts Kadarius Toney (shoulder) and Collin Johnson (hamstring), defensive lineman Austin Johnson (foot) and Price.
Running back Saquon Barkley (ankle), Kyle Rudolph (ankle), defensive tackle Raymond Johnson (illness) and kicker Graham Gano (illness) were limited after missing practice yesterday. Also limited were cornerbacks Adoree' Jackson (quad/COVID ramp up) and Keion Crossen (COVID ramp up), fullback Cullen Gillaspia (shin), Bredeson (ankle), tight end Chris Myarick (hip) and Solder.
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