New York Giants: Evan Engram responds to boos, being cheered off field

New York Giants, Evan Engram

Despite hopes that things might improve this season, it looks like the cycle is continuing for New York Giants tight end Evan Engram. Each season it’s looking more like a change of scenery would benefit both the player and the team, and that idea is backed up by the outcome in Engram’s 2021 season debut.

The performance saw Engram record 2 receptions after coming back from injury, but it was spoiled by a fumble that quickly reignited complaints about Dave Gettleman’s decision to keep the tight end rather than trading him.

This negative reception showed up both online and at MetLife Stadium itself – Engram found himself becoming the target of boos, and it went as far as the fans cheering when he was substituted off the field.

Even with the increase in negativity, Engram has kept a cool head about the situation.

Evan Engram responds to being cheered off field

“Obviously, it’s not ideal and it’s something you don’t want to see or hear. But, that’s my focus – is playing better football for my teammates and my team and giving the fans and our supporters something to cheer about and something to be proud about on the field,” Engram said about the treatment from the fans.

At this point, it’s debatable whether the relationship between Engram and the fans will ever be a good one. Whether because of an injury history that has often kept him off the field, or because of drops and being involved in turnovers, a large part of the fanbase has written Engram off as a disappointment by now.

The remaining question is whether or not the front office and coaching staff will also come to see Engram as a disappointment compared to his draft position and expected role.

Engram, like Saquon Barkley, has proven himself to be a boom or bust player. He’s capable of putting up good numbers, such as in his rookie season when he scored six touchdowns or last season when he made the Pro Bowl with 654 receiving yards on 63 receptions.

But when he runs into problems, they tend to be bad. He only played 8 games in 2019 due to injury and missed the first two games of this season with a calf injury. Last season, Engram dropping a key pass from Daniel Jones played a massive part in the Giants losing to the Eagles – a loss that would come back to haunt the team after they narrowly missed out on the division title.

The Giants have tried making the Evan Engram experiment work for four full seasons. By now, they may be served better by tight ends with a lower ceiling who perform more consistently. There’s a strong argument that Engram fits better as a luxury player on a contending team, where the margins are often less tight and his problems would be less visible.

But whether the Giants do make the decision to trade Engram before the deadline or not, something that might not materialize simply because Engram’s trade value is significantly lower than it would have been a couple of seasons ago, it appears the tight end is still focused on his game first and foremost.

“I’ve been playing football for a long time. I’ve played in front of a lot of fans for a good amount of time. We’re trained to stay focused in between the lines. That’s the best way I tried to handle that yesterday was to stay in between the lines and stay in the game,” Engram told reporters.

Keeping that focus will likely get more challenging if there’s not a large step up on Engram’s part.

Should the New York Giants explore trade opportunities for Evan Engram?

New York Giants, Evan Engram

New York Giants tight end Evan Engram is arguably one of the team’s most polarizing players on offense. Making his season debut against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 3, Engram posted just two receptions for 21 yards. His impact was minimal, as the Giants primarily relied on Kenny Golladay, reserve receiver Collin Johnson, and running back Saquon Barkley to carry the load.

With the team starting 0-3 on the season, the Giants have a few big decisions to make this year as they ponder the future. After spending an exorbitant amount of money this past off-season to maximize quarterback Daniel Jones’s rookie window, they will have to find ways to open up salary space.

One way the Giants can add draft capital and a bit more salary flexibility is by trading Engram, who is currently in the last year of his rookie contract. The Giants picked up his fifth-year option, which will pay him $6 million this season.

Having suffered a calf injury against the New England Patriots in the final preseason game, Engram was unable to play against Denver and Washington. However, the athletic tight end has become more of a liability than an asset.

Despite Engram’s blazing speed and fantastic physical attributes, he has dropped 25 passes over the past four seasons, including eight last year, with six of Jones’s 12 interceptions going his way. However, the 27-year-old was unable to make a positive impact against the Falcons on Sunday afternoon.

In fact, his biggest contribution was a fumble in the third quarter with the Giants trailing by one. If not for an Azeez Ojulari strip-sack on Matt Ryan on the Giants’ 35-yard line, Engram’s turnover would’ve been far more costly.

At this point in his career, the Giants simply need to maximize his value and collect draft capital. When fans are cheering as a player walks off the field, you know things are a bit overdone, as the former first-round selection has been unable to alleviate his turnover issues and drops. The bigger question is, what could the Giants get in return for his services?

New York Giants: Kenny Golladay and Evan Engram set to play

New York Giants, Evan Engram

The New York Giants, for the most part, haven’t had all of their weapons on the field at one time this season. While Saquon Barkley was able to come back in week 1, the Giants have dealt with a number of other injuries and names such as Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, and Evan Engram have either missed time or been at risk of doing so.

The big absence in the receiving game for the first two games of the season was Evan Engram. In a situation that will be familiar to Giants fans due to past experiences with Engram, the tight end entered the season with a calf injury and wasn’t present in either of their two losses. That is set to change in today’s game against Atlanta.

This will be Engram’s season debut, while Golladay and Toney on the other hand played in the first two games but ended up on the injury report after the Washington loss. Also appearing at tight end will be Kaden Smith, who was limited in practice earlier in the week but is expected to play.

The expectations may be a bit higher for the Giants on offense, as this is the first game where Jason Garrett will have all of his major weapons to work with. But not everyone on the field may be ready to go 100%.

Kenny Golladay may have to play with reduced snaps, which doesn’t look good for his numbers that are already considered low this season. The strong possibility that Golladay is limited combined with the fact that Kadarius Toney appears to be outside of the team’s immediate plans raises some questions about who will receive the bulk of the attention in the pass game.

But one thing is certain – the Giants will have more options in this department than they did in either opening game of the season.

New York Giants: Evan Engram out and Saquon Barkley questionable

New York Giants, Evan Engram

Even going into the second game of the season, the New York Giants might not have all of their offensive weapons on the field. The team was missing Evan Engram in the season opener and Engram was confirmed today as set to miss his second straight game with a calf injury from before the start of the season.

He’s not the only player that will miss the Thursday Night Football appearance against Washington. In slightly more minor news, special teamer Cam Brown and guard Shane Lemieux will also miss the game.

Saquon Barkley hasn’t been ruled out of the game like these other players. Despite that, he’s listed as questionable and there’s also no guarantee that he will play. While Barkley played in the opener, it’s clear that the staff are taking a cautious approach with him and that he wasn’t playing at his best while coming back from injury.

While some of the poor performance can be attributed to bad run blocking from the offensive line, a theory which is backed up by the lack of performance from alternative option Devontae Booker, Barkley ultimately didn’t utilize much of his unique skillset in the loss.

He looked like any replacement level running back in the league, and while Barkley himself refused to use his injury as a crutch, we may have to consider the possibility that his return was a bit too quick.

Devontae Booker is still waiting in the wings to take a larger role if Barkley is held back to recover longer before being brought back into the fold fully, but based on his own poor numbers from last Sunday, that may not be the most encouraging prospect for those hoping to see an improvement in the rushing attack against Washington.

New York Giants: Evan Engram sits on Thursday, Saquon Barkley close to 100 percent

New York Giants, Evan Engram

For much of the offseason, a fear was that the New York Giants could end up missing running back Saquon Barkley in their season opener. However, now that we’re only days away from that opener, it looks like a different player is likely to miss the week one matchup with Denver. That player is Evan Engram, who may once again have to sit out with an injury and this time miss the first game of the season.

It’s looking more and more like Engram will miss the game, and the latest evidence is his absence from practice on Thursday. On the Giants’ injury report for the day, a number of players were listed as limited – but Engram was notable for not participating entirely, and was the only player on that part of the list.

There is good news, however. While the Giants may not have Engram for the game, it looks at this point like they will have Saquon Barkley on the field. That’s been the feeling for the past week, but Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett made some statements on Thursday that might support the idea of Barkley getting back for week 1.

Garrett on Barkley getting back to 100 percent

“Yeah, a lot of confidence in him as a player and I think he’s done a great job to get himself back healthy and 100 percent,” Garrett said when asked by reporters whether Barkley was the same player he’d seen before.

With Barkley looking 100 percent in the eyes of the team’s offensive coordinator, it doesn’t seem like there’s much holding the player back at this point.

Losing Engram will be a blow to the offensive depth of the Giants for Sunday’s game, but the offense should still look like an improvement from what we saw in the preseason if Barkley and the team’s new additions at wide receiver play.

The offensive line will remain a point of contention for the foreseeable future and for good reason, but the Giants are far from uncompetitive with their first opponent of the season. Given the way the injury news is looking recently, the Giants should be able to put more weapons on the field than they’ve featured on any previous roster in years.

New York Giants: What the tight end position would look like without Evan Engram in Week One

New York Giants, Kaden Smith

The New York Giants are preparing for the start of the regular season this week. Their season kicks off on Sunday afternoon with a home game against the Denver Broncos. Today’s injury reports have given fans encouragement on running back Saquon Barkley, however, they have also given a bleak outlook on tight end Evan Engram.

Evan Engram suffered a calf injury in the Giants’ final preseason game this year. The Pro Bowl tight end has been healing up in hopes of playing in Week One. According to Ian Rapoport, Engram has yet to be ruled out for Sunday, however, he is considered a “long-shot” to play.

What the Giants’ offense would look like without Evan Engram

Despite being doubtful to play, the Giants still listed Evan Engram as one of two starting tight ends on their unofficial depth chart ahead of Week One. The Giants like to run a lot of twelve personnel (two-tight end sets). This is why the team lists two first-string tight ends on their depth chart.

The other first-string tight end is Kyle Rudolph. The Giants signed Rudolph this offseason to be a reliable underneath receiver and a top-tier red zone threat. If Evan Engram is unable to play, Rudolph will likely stay in his original secondary role that complements Engram’s primary role. A practice squad tight end could also be promoted to the active roster.

Kaden Smith is listed as the second-string tight end for both starting positions. The Giants are surprisingly holding only three tight ends on their roster going into this season. Kaden Smith is the team’s backup tight end but he is no scrub. Smith has been with the team since 2019 and had an impressive performance in the preseason finale, hauling in a contested 23-yard touchdown reception.

Kaden Smith is a young tight end that has the ability to contribute as a receiver and as a run-blocker. The Giants’ offensive attack might be altered slightly on Sunday if Evan Engram is unable to go. However, Kaden Smith should be able to make up for most of what is lost.

New York Giants enter regular season as 2.5 point underdogs in week 1

new york giants, rodarius williams

Headed into the regular season, Vegas is betting against the New York Giants. That won’t surprise everyone after a preseason where the Giants failed to win a game, and where their offense still performed slowly in some areas even when the starters were on the field. However, the expected margin of victory for the Broncos may be slimmer than some expect.

The Broncos are only a 2.5 point favorite against the spread based on the current odds from Odds Shark, a prediction that’s far from counting out the Giants entirely in their week 1 matchup.

The odds, of course, could change this week based on what the Giants announce in relation to injuries. The most obvious injury decision that could affect the outcome is the matter of whether or not Saquon Barkley will play. The Giants are seemingly waiting until the last minute to make an announcement, even as Barkley’s current progress points to a week 1 return being likely.

Tight end Evan Engram, meanwhile, is considered a long shot to play according to Ian Rapoport. Wide receivers Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney are currently practicing, but the staff haven’t seen enough to make a decision on them playing or not.

All of these names are impact players in their own right for the offense and the odds could still shift in one direction or another depending on whether they play.

While the Broncos are favored, they also have some question marks of their own such as whether Teddy Bridgewater will live up to expectations and the final result is far from a foregone conclusion in Denver’s favor.

New York Giants injury update: Saquon up, Engram down ahead of Week 1

Saquon Barkley

The New York Giants are just one week away from taking on the Denver Broncos in Week 1 of the regular season. Injuries have begun to mount ahead of opening day, but the Giants are optimistic star running back Saquon Barkley will be available after tearing his ACL, MCL, and partially tearing his meniscus last year against the Chicago Bears early in the season.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Barkley is gearing up for Week 1 and is expected to make his first appearance since the injury. Barkley, who has played in only 15 games over the last two years, is looking to resurrect his 2018-self. During his rookie campaign, Barkley amassed 2,028 yards, 15 touchdowns, and didn’t fumble a single time.

With Barkley on the field, the offense is far more productive and successful. The addition of wide receiver Kenny Golladay should also contribute heavily toward a more efficient unit. Barkley had his best season with Odell Beckham Jr. on the field, as the star wideout commanded attention from opposing defenses, which took players out of the box and allowed Saquon to have more success running the football.

Quarterback Daniel Jones will also be ecstatic about the return of his most lethal offensive weapon. Jones has barely enjoyed any time with Barkley on the field, and when he is, Jones’s numbers skyrocket. Jones has a passer rating of 92 with Barkley in the backfield and 78.9 without him. The offense averaged 22.5 points per game with Saquon on the field since 2019 and just 17.5 without him.

In addition to Barkley making a return, the Giants are also expecting TE Engram Engram to miss Week 1 against Denver. Engram suffered a calf injury against the New England Patriots in the final preseason game of the off-season. Engram, who is in the final year of his rookie contract, was plagued with drops last season, picking up eight in the category and was directly correlated to six interceptions.

However, Evan is capable of being a great player who changes the dynamic of the offense. Last season, he tallied 654 yards and one score, earning his first Pro-Bowl appearance. Some might say that the Giants are better off without Engram in the lineup, as they will look to Kaden Smith and potentially Kyle Rudolph as their primary TE’s to open the year.

New York Giants: Evan Engram’s status unclear going into opener

The end of the preseason came with not just a loss for the New York Giants, but also a couple more injuries to add to the team’s already high tally.

This time the injured player is another receiving target, tight end Evan Engram. Engram is out right now with a calf injury and his status for week 1 of the regular season is looking uncertain because of that. With only a short break between the team’s final preseason game and the start of the regular season, Joe Judge couldn’t confirm that the Giants will have Engram available when they take on Denver.

In terms of Evan, he’s still going to see a doctor, they’re going to look at some things and kind of measure the severity of whatever it may be,” Judge told reporters on Monday.

“Obviously, (we’re) two weeks out. It leaves a little bit of a different window than it normally would be in the preseason track as far as getting ready for the opener, so we’ll have to see where he’s at in terms of how we manage him.”

A plethora of injuries on offense

Engram isn’t the only player that was injured in the loss. Wide receiver Darius Slayton is dealing with an ankle injury, and Judge left his status open ended while revealing that the trainers have yet to evaluate the player.

Both injuries are another blow to a Giants offense that is already missing its first round draft pick as well as its highest profile free agent addition. Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney are both expected back for week 1, but after not seeing them all preseason, it’s unknown how rusty their skills will be.

In the case of Engram, his injury isn’t a particularly big deal in isolation. However, it will bring back bad memories for some due to his injury prone history from 2018 and 2019.

Many have questioned if Engram can stay on the field for long enough to reach his full potential, and with his status unclear for an important week 1 game, those questions will almost certainly come up again in fan discussions.

New York Giants: Kyle Rudolph’s return to the lineup could be huge for Evan Engram

New York Giants, Evan Engram

The New York Giants had an eventful day of practice on Wednesday. They saw a couple of key starters go down with injuries (seemingly nothing significant, though). But they also got a crucial member of the offense back from injury. Kyle Rudolph was activated off the PUP list and returned to practice.

Kyle Rudolph is a phenomenal red zone threat and reliable tight end that can do it all for the Giants’ offense. Rudolph was part of the Giants’ big offensive spending spree in free agency this offseason. New York made it a priority to upgrade their offense that ranked 31st in the NFL last season. Kyle Rudolph will enter the Giants’ lineup, not as a full-time starter, but as a complementary piece to Evan Engram. The addition of Rudolph into the lineup could be huge for Engram as he takes his game to the next level.

Why Kyle Rudolph might unlock the next level of Evan Engram

Engram going vertical

Evan Engram made the Pro Bowl last year, despite having a season most fans want to forget. The dynamic tight end dropped 11 passes last season, some of which came at crucial moments and cost his team games. But there are reasons to believe Engram will bounce back in 2021.

Engram is best used as a deep-receiving weapon. When going vertical, Evan Engram can be a true playmaker. He and Daniel Jones connected on a few deep bombs last year, including two 40+ yard receptions against the Cincinnati Bengals.

However, the majority of Engram’s routes were run underneath, not vertical. 69 of Evan Engram’s 109 targets came between 0-10 yards of the line of scrimmage. Only six of his targets were on passes 20+ yards downfield (PFF). Evan Engram is one of the fastest tight ends in the NFL. It is malpractice for him to be used purely on hook routes five yards from the line of scrimmage. Let Engram put that 4.42s 40-yard dash to work and get downfield. The addition of Kyle Rudolph in the lineup will allow Engram to do just that.

Kyle Rudolph underneath

Kyle Rudolph has not dropped a pass in the last two years and is incredible at making contested catches. Rudolph’s contested catch rate since 2016 is 51.9%. Compare this to Evan Engram’s career contested-catch rate of 32.1%, and it’s easy to understand why Kyle Rudolph could be one of the Giants’ most valuable offensive weapons.

In the Giants’ 2021 offensive scheme, Kyle Rudolph will be able to do the things that Evan Engram struggled with during the 2020 season. Rudolph can run all of those routes from 0-10 yards of the line of scrimmage that Engram failed to run efficiently. Having Kyle Rudolph as the reliable pass-catcher underneath will allow the Giants to play Evan Engram to his strengths, pushing him downfield as a vertical receiving threat and putting together explosive plays.