Can Andy Reid turn Kadarius Toney into his latest reclamation project?
Many people around the NFL believe that if anyone can get the talent out of Toney, it’s Reid with his intriguing mix of patience and discipline. Reid’s Chiefs acquired Toney in a trade with the Giants last month.
Or as Baltimore coach (and former Reid assistant) John Harbaugh once said about Reid: “He has an incredible ability to get a player to do things the way he expects without yelling or screaming. He doesn’t even get in a guy’s face. Guys just learn to do it his way or they don’t get to do it.”
Harbaugh then recalled how Hall of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens, during his first year with Reid in Philadelphia, tried to test Reid. Owens wasn’t dressed properly for practice. To the coaches, he was testing boundaries about what was acceptable.
Owens was told politely that he needed to change. He didn’t. When it came time to go through drills, Reid didn’t say a word. All he did is that every time Owens was supposed to do a rep, he signaled for another guy to run the play. Owens, who was in the middle of trying to prove himself to Reid, was quietly skipped three times by Reid before he finally went in to change into the proper attire.
“Andy stood his ground, but he did it without raising his voice,” Harbaugh said.
Andy Reid Knows How To Get Most Out Of His Players
In other words, Reid didn’t try to embarrass Owens or put the star in his place publicly. Reid simply laid down expectations. In much the same way, Reid turned around quarterback Michael Vick’s career for a few years.
Of course, Reid has had his share of failures when trying to help someone rehabilitate their career or life. Fairly or not, the struggles with addiction by his two sons are well known. Reid has suffered both heartache and public criticism as a result.
When it comes to Kadarius Toney, Reid may not be in Owens’ class in terms of attitude and antics or accomplishment at similar stages of their career. But like Owens, Toney can be more than a little disagreeable. During his year-plus in New York, he made it clear he was unhappy and people in the organization think he let injuries linger longer than usual as a result.
When Toney was at the University of Florida, people think he also let his hopes for a rap career consume his focus.
“Amazing talent, but never really immersed in the task at hand,” a member of the Florida athletic department said. “I think he wants to portray himself as a guy who is above it all and that he’s going to ignore anyone who tries to tell him what to do. There’s a lot of layers to get through.”
For whatever reason, Toney’s wore out his welcome after only playing 10 games for the Giants. He went from being the No. 20 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to being dealt for a third-round compensatory pick and a sixth-rounder.
Kadarius Toney Has Opportunity To Succeed In Kansas City
In only his second game with Kansas City, Kadarius Toney displayed game-changing talent. He has four catches for 78 yards and a touchdown along with two carries for 33 yards. One of the two catches was an acrobatic move along the right sideline against two defenders. The touchdown also came on a throw along the right sideline that Toney caught off-balance and then hopped four times on his right leg to keep his balance to stay in bounds on the way to the end zone.
If not for Justin Jefferson’s catch against Buffalo, Toney might have led all the highlight reels. For now, the Chiefs are content in the notion that they may have found another explosive player as they ready for the stretch run of the season and the playoffs.
Certainly, tight end Travis Kelce was duly impressed during his weekly podcast this week. Kelce raved about Kadarius Toney and openly wondered how the Giants could have let him go.
“Ever since he has been in the building, it has been, ‘Man, this dude’s smart. Man, this dude’s crazy athletic. Man, this guy has a lot of confidence,’” Kelce said. “I don’t know how he got out of (the Giants’) building. I just don’t get it.
“I don’t even want to understand it. I don’t even want to know what happened over there. I am just extremely happy that (Chiefs General Manager) Brett Veach found a way yet again to get an unbelievably talented player in this building.”