Now in his fourth NFL season – and coming off an injury which limited him to eight games last season – Evan Engram was set to become the impact player the Giants expected when they used the 23rd overall pick to select him in 2017.
Now, with Saquon Barkley gone for the season and Sterling Shepard out for at least the next three weeks, Big Blue needs even more from the Ole Miss product if they want to succeed offensively, especially as an explosive playmaker.
"It comes down to execution," Engram said. "That's kind of what we're improving on as a team and working on. We're building on executing the fundamentals and the little things, making sure those things are happening and allowing those things to lead to the big plays. We're chipping away. we're working. We're staying ready for those moments and we've got to cash in on them when they present themselves."
Head coach Joe Judge raved about the tight end's work ethic, and believes that will lead to bigger and better things on the field come game time.
“What I look at him as is a developing player,” Judge said. “I think Evan is young enough that we have not seen his best ball. But he's someone who works every day tirelessly. The guy empties the tank. You see him every day in practice. When you look at his GPS reports every day in terms of speed and yards, he's a guy you really have to monitor because he has no governor on himself.”
After a dud in Week 1 in which Engram caught just two passes for seven yards, he had another slow start in Week 2, including a play where he slipped coming out a route, leading to a Daniel Jones interception. But he came alive in the fourth quarter and finished the game with six catches for 65 yards.
“There were some plays in the first game and the early part of the second game that certainly Evan would like to have back,” offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said. “But you just keep playing. He's certainly done a good job working hard in practice and he's playing hard. He had some opportunities as that game wore on and he took advantage of them. He won some one-on-one matchups and made some runs after the catch that were impressive for us. He's certainly going to be a big part of our offensive going forward.”
Engram knows he'll have more of a load to shoulder with both Barkley and Shepard out of the lineup, but he's ready for the challenge.
"It's tough losing brothers and it's tough not being able to compete as a group," Engram said. "It makes it harder because of all the work we have put in together. We were definitely expecting big things from ourselves and prepared for big things. It's kind of the hand that we're dealt but we have to continue to move forward.