So far, New York Giants rookie tight end Evan Engram is what the team thought he’d be.
What they—the Giants coaching staff—thought Engram can become for the team is a multiple threat, particularly in the red zone, which is where the youngster really stood out.
“I saw a young player who’s learning how to play the game the way we want it played down in the green zone,” said head coach Ben McAdoo. “He’s a target down there, we all see that, we all see the skill set.”
Engram had at least one touchdown pass. Earlier in the practice, he made a gorgeous sliding catch of a ball that looked impossible to come up with.
Moreover, his showing today revealed a man for whom the game is finally starting to slow down.
“I knew today was, by far, going to be the hardest (practice), and I woke up this morning ready to go to work,” said Engram. “I came out here and did my best to make plays.”
The Giants are counting on Engram to be part of a solution that fixes an anemic red zone offense that last year finished 22nd in the red zone, converting just 51.1% of their opportunities inside the opponent’s 20-yard line into touchdowns.
Engram is still learning the different wrinkles the coaching staff has in mind regarding the offense and, in particular, the red zone, but he believes that whatever is asked of him, he can deliver.
“I work to be a big play maker,” he said. “I know there are a lot of weapons that can make big plays in the end zone, so I definitely work and want to be one to add to those guys.”
To do that, Engram is going to have to be able to play the game faster, something he said is still coming along.
“The challenge for a guy like him is, you move him around, you ask a lot of him, play a lot of different spots. And he can think too much, you think too much playing that position,” McAdoo said.
“I asked him to go out there today and play with speed and we’ll detail it as we go and don’t look back. And he made some productive plays down there today.”
“It’s learning stuff every day. Learning from mistakes every day, that’s the biggest thing,” Engram said of his progress. “I feel like everything is coming along. I’ll have mistakes here and there, but I’m really just taking advantage and capitalizing on those mistakes, learning from them and making sure they don’t happen again.
“Once I’m more comfortable, learn and have everything down… that’s what happens when you get more comfortable in the playbook. You play fast, so he’s just pushing me to play faster and I had that in my mindset, for sure.”