The New York Giants have a chance to buck the unfortunate trend of despair that the rival Philadelphia Eagles continuously present towards Big Blue, and tight end Evan Engram is aware of this fact. It was Engram that dropped the third and 6 win-clinching catch with just over 2 minutes left in the teams’ Week 7 bout. New York was up 21-16, but the drop allowed Carson Wentz and the Eagles to drive down the field to secure a 22-21 victory.
New York has been on the short end of these matchups against the Eagles for far too long, but the tight end has a strong sense of confidence heading into the interdivisional battle at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. When Engram was asked about the painful feeling of walking out of Lincoln Financial Field with another loss, and how that may affect the team’s confidence, he responded with this:
“The feeling walking off after that game, that was a real tough one. Real disappointing just coming up that short and just how that game ended wasn’t a really good feeling. But I have a lot of confidence in the way we’ve bounced back since then, the way we’ve responded as a team, not just in the games but even just in practice. The preparation has been really good. I really have a lot of confidence in the way we’ve been preparing, the way we’ve responded since that game.”
Since that drop in Philadelphia, Engram has responded with 10 catches for 109 yards, and his first receiving touchdown of the year. That was done on 17 targets, but the success-stifling mistakes still persist as he also dropped two passes last week, one almost leading to an interception. Nonetheless, Engram is setting an example for the younger players to emulate by taking accountability of his mistakes, and working tirelessly to try and rectify them. When asked about how he put the big drop against Philadelphia behind him, he said:
“For me, like I said, I’m not a guy that will make excuses. I never point the finger at anybody else in that moment. That was a play I should have made. But I think a lot of young guys definitely see the way guys respond in adversity. For me, just to kind of own that and then respond in the right way with the work going forward, that was important to me.”
Engram went on to stress that he used to let bad plays affect him which would divert his attention from the moment, but he doesn’t allow that anymore. He was asked about the highs and lows that have been the story of his career, and Engram responded in a matured manner:
“I think my maturity and I’ve just kind of grown in this league and through the adversity and the lessons learned, I’ve learned to just kind of stay in the moment. When the mistakes do happen and the bad plays do happen, definitely you need to flush them. But when the time is right, you learn from them and you work on the things that need to be improved on that could have prevented that.”
He also, in a very Joe Judgian way, harped on the details of technique and how he must remain focused on refining his technique to maximize his skill set. These are things that Engram focuses on throughout his weeks of preparation and while adjusting in game:
“Yeah, it’s the small things. Maybe not looking the ball all the way into the tuck, or keeping your shoulders square while running a go route, or shooting your hands together, don’t shoot your hands too early and continue to run through the ball. Just small, technical things that are important techniques in receiving the ball and being a receiver. Just really fundamentals. Just being able to focus on those and sharpen those things when there’s time to do that.”
A lot of eyes will be looking at Engram in this very important rivalry game against the 3-4-1 Eagles. If the Giants can pull off a win, they will rise to 3-7, dropping the Eagles to 3-5-1 and making this division race just a bit more interesting. New York’s defense has been solid all season, and the offense has been inconsistent, mistake prone, and unreliable. They’ve looked better with Sterling Shepard, but they’re still not overly threatening. If anyone is poised to have a big game in this matchup against an Eagles team that has been burnt by the tight end position, it’s Evan Engram. Sunday could be his time, let’s hope he can seize it.