3. TE Evan Engram
There’s no sugarcoating the disappointing performance of Evan Engram against the Steelers. Much of this offseason’s talk about the NY Giants’ offense centered around Saquon Barkley carrying the load of the offense while Evan Engram would churn out yards and be the offense’s spark-plug.
Neither of these plans came to fruition Week 1.
Engram struggled right from the first drive, where he dropped a wide-open pass right in his hands on the third play from scrimmage. It was a harbinger of more frustration to come from #88. After an early gift muffed punt from Pittsburgh, the NY Giants failed to score from inside the 5-yard line. Why? Engram didn’t help the cause as he could’ve had a touchdown on 3rd down had he ran a better route. From there, it kept going downhill for Engram.
He had multiple drops and a key flag on an offensive pass interference call on Engram after he pushed off on the defender instead of trusting himself and his natural abilities to make a clean play legally.
Instead of being the cover-2 destroyer and seam-buster everyone expected, he was instead used as an inline blocker often on MNF. The results were awful, Engram couldn’t hold his own or help set an edge on both run and pass plays. He was a blocker responsible for many run plays, but he kept getting blown up several times leading to negative yard runs ending in the backfield.
The inability to block from Engram is concerning and starting to become inexcusable. Engram is a great athlete, he has quick-twitch speed that tight ends simply aren’t born with. He has some strength to him but his body isn’t cut for the trenches.
He has become a liability in the run game and it will become a major issue if the Giants have to take him off the field on obvious run situations due to his inability to block.
It is time the NY Giants stop trying to fit a square peg into a circle hole and must realize Engram simply isn’t a good blocker and probably never will be. It’s unacceptable for any tight end to not be able to block but the reality is Engram is and always has been far more receiver-like then tight end-like.
Jason Garrett must start utilizing Engram in the slot and out wide almost exclusively. the talk of Garrett’s importance with tight ends in his offense only matters if the guys are making an impact.
He can still be a mismatch in the slot for slow linebackers or undersized safeties and corners. Having Engram line up with his hand in the dirt is clearly a formula for failure, so the GMEN should stop trying it as it hasn’t worked for four years straight.
Evan Engram is a former 1st round pick and a dangerous weapon when utilized correctly. He needs to bounce back from an awful Week One start especially after getting so much hype and publicity all offseason. Look for him to be counted upon to win against Chicago’s linebackers across the middle and to get in behind the safeties for an over-the-top opportunity.