2018 wasn’t the best year for New York Giants tight end Evan Engram by any stretch of the imagination. A promising rookie season left a lot of people thinking Engram would break out further in his second year, but injuries helped prevent that and the tight end found himself getting less playing time than expected during the second half of the year after coming back from said injuries.
The Giants shared Engram’s snaps with others including Rhett Ellison and Scott Simonson, and Engram finished the 2018 season with less overall receptions and half as many touchdowns as his promising rookie year, which was highlighted by a total of 6 touchdowns. It’s safe to say the season was a step back, and according to Engram, the way the season went had an affect on him.
“To be honest, it was a really, really dark time around here, a dark time with me. I was coming off an injury and I had a couple bad games. In this business, when things aren’t going the right way, changes are made,” Engram said to NJ Advance Media.
There were trade rumors going around by the time the season was at its midway point, that the Giants weren’t confident in Engram’s performances and would have preferred a blocking tight end – and that Engram’s tendency for drops would result in the team moving on quickly.
But Engram also claims that Eli Manning helped him get through the situation in tact.
“I give a lot of credit to my teammates. Eli was one of the guys who picked me up,” Engram continued.
What did Manning himself have to say about the matter? According to Manning, it was a matter of helping to keep Engram’s confidence high. “You say, ‘This is how we are going to get you open.’ Or ‘We are going to get you set up on this linebacker and you’ll destroy this.'”
“You pump him up and let him know you have faith. They may lose some confidence in themselves at times, but you want to make sure they know the quarterback still has it, and we’re going to come to you and find ways to get you the ball,” Manning added further.
The chemistry between the two should be good for the Giants this year – the team is going to need all the receiving help it can get after the trade of Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns. Engram will of course be a major target, as a pass catching tight end who can double as a receiver at certain times. Will Engram take a step forward once again after setbacks in 2018? We may just find out on Sunday, when Engram will be in the lineup as the Giants take on the Cowboys.