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Evan Engram a bright spot in a long Giants’ season

Rookie tight end is certainly justifying surprise selection

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at New York Giants Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie have a lot to learn about the NFL. The biggest lesson New York Giants tight end Evan Engram has learned so far? The season is long — really, really long.

“That’s the craziest thing,” Engram said this week when it was pointed out to him that the Giants have more games to play (nine) than they have already completed (seven). “That’s crazy. I mean, coming into it, people kind of tried to warn me about the length of the season and the rookie wall, but it’s really not that bad. I think it’s kind of a mentality – a mental thing. It’s tough right now for us, but I’m enjoying each and every day coming up here and putting the work in.”

Engram is fifth in the league among tight ends with 30 receptions and fourth in yards gained with 342.

With Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall out for the season and Sterling Shepard missing the last two games, Engram has become the focal point of the offense. He has 11 receptions on 19 targets the past two games.

Even when Shepard returns, the emphasis on getting the ball to Engram will likely continue.

“Guys are going to have to step up across the board, but personally, I definitely am ready to be whatever I have to be to help this team as much as I can,” Engram said on Tuesday. “So, that’s an increased role. I’m going to embrace it. I’m going to attack it. These guys are going to push me and I’m going to push them as well.”

Engram is trying to keep his head up despite the team’s 1-6 record.

“It’s tough to be pleased when we’re losing as a team. Big games here and there. With a loss, it’s kind of hard to feel good about it. There’s always things that you can look back on – maybe if I did this better, we score here or if I did this better, we get this first down. So, it’s definitely tough to kind of enjoy playing well but not getting the results we want as a team,” he said.

“I try to stay positive and I don’t live in the past. It’s definitely tough in the moment and in situations, definitely in games when things aren’t going our way. But, I definitely don’t let it linger. I kind of throw it in the trash and get ready and get excited for the next opportunity.”

The 23rd overall pick has, of course, been one of the bright spots this season. Selecting him in the draft is undoubtedly one of the things GM Jerry Reese got right in the offseason.