New York Giants TE Evan Engram Knows He Needs to Improve

Patricia Traina

New York Giants tight end Evan Engram doesn’t need anyone to tell him that his performance in the Giants Week 1 loss to the Steelers was unacceptable.

But that didn’t stop critics from expressing that opinion, one with which Engram agrees.

“The expectations I have for myself, I definitely want to and need to be better on all phases,” he said. “I definitely hold myself accountable to improving this week and to come out with more better details and things like that against Chicago.”

To be fair, Engram wasn’t the only one of the Giants tight ends to have a bad showing against the Steelers.

Levine Toilolo, signed in the off-season presumably for his blocking ability, and Kaden Smith, combined to allow three pass pressures per PFF.

More alarmingly, given the amount of two and three-tight end sets the Giants ran in the running game to help slow down the Steelers’ fast-footed edge rushers, that Saquon Barkley only managed six yards on 15 carries and was hit 11 out of those carries at or behind the line of scrimmage is indicative of just how poor the blocking was.

Per PFF, the Giants attempted five rushing plays to the edges, where the tight ends would presumably be deployed to help out with the run blocking.

Their total yardage? Zero.

As far as Engram is concerned, misery doesn’t enjoy company. He told reporters that he’s been trying to learn from the mistakes of that last game and not let the bad plays linger.

“Just fixing some details that I needed to get fixed,” he said. “Just some small things in the game that I could have been better at. When we broke down the film, we highlighted those and I added that to the emphasis of my practices throughout the week, and then we moved on.”

One of the “small” things Engram needs to address was his blocking. Giants head coach Joe Judge and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett both insist that Engram can be a complete tight end, that he’s a willing blocker. Still, Engram has yet to show that he can be anywhere near effective as a blocker.

A big reason for that is his technique, which has been inconsistent. On tape, Engram has been guilty of dropping his head prematurely and taking his eye off a defender, who can then use his hands to swat Engram out of the way.

On others, Engram appears to take the wrong first step and ends up having to reach back to grab at a man zooming by him. And on others, Engram fails to establish leverage, which allows him to get knocked to the ground a little too easily for anyone’s tastes.

“Those are details that I have to clean up,” Engram admitted. “Footwork, hand placement, head up, eyes up, leverage are all things that I can improve on. Blocking is a lot of small things that I definitely had to clean up.”

To identify those, Engram has been looking at the film.

“We break down film of guys being successful in the run game. That’s probably the best outlet that I use for my technique to take to the field.”

Engram seems in no danger at this point of having his role in the offense changed after one bad game, despite three years’ worth of film being out there that might support arguments to discontinue Engram's use as a blocker.

“We believe Evan can be a complete tight end. He’s demonstrated that at different times throughout his career, and certainly during our time together in training camp up to this point We don’t see him as a one-dimensional player who’s only a receiver,” offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said on Thursday.

“We see him as a guy who can do all the things necessary to play tight end in this league, and his willingness to do that is something I think is really positive for our team.”

“He’s a guy that hits the field every day and this guy goes 100 miles an hour. In the passing game, the run game, pass blocking, whatever’s asked of him, when he’s on special teams, this guy goes full out to the wall for us every day,” added head coach Joe Judge.

“We have a lot of confidence in Evan. He’s an integral part of our offense. He’s a key part of our team. I look forward to having him for the rest of the season.”

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