Evan Engram remains the most polarizing player on the New York Giants, and this year’s training camp has done little to change that. He has been one of the biggest standouts on the offense but was also part of a huge brawl that marred the end of last week’s practice.
The fifth-year tight end spoke about that brawl, what he’s been seeing from the offense, and how excited he is to play in front of fans in his press conference on Tuesday.
Daniel Jones and the rest of the offense
The media has praised Engram’s performance thus far in camp, but he still expects more out of himself.
“Things can be better, actually,” Engram said. “There’s good stuff. There’s good film, but there’s also a lot I’ve got to get cleaned up. A lot of small detail stuff, footwork in the run game, hand placement, details on routes – everything that comes with being a tight end if you break it down really hard on yourself. Trying to improve on that each and every day on those things.
“I definitely prepared a lot for this camp, I’d say that. Just having a mindset, just attacking each day, each play, each rep was definitely my motivation coming in, so I’m not going to think back on last year or anything. I’m just really focused on performing to my best ability in this camp for sure.”
He was much quicker to compliment his teammates. Engram had this to say about Jones’ preparation for his third season:
“More vocal, more leadership. You can feel his presence and just his assertiveness. When things don’t go the way he doesn’t need, he corrects them, and he speaks up. I mean, he’s taking leadership, so just his assertiveness is really on display.”
He was also excited about Saquon Barkley’s return to the field at Monday’s practice. The Giants have been noncommittal about Barkley’s preseason and Week 1 status, but his teammates seem to be as excited as fans are about the progress he is making in his rehab from an ACL tear.
“It was a blessing for him,” Engram said. “I know he’s had a long journey to get back. We’ve all been supporting him and watching him overcome that adversity, so just for him to get back on the field with us yesterday, it was a blessing. He’s a brother. He’s family and he’s going to help our team when he gets back in the lineup, so it’s good to see him back.
Last week’s fight
Engram was part of the initial conflict that instigated last Tuesday’s brawl. After Corey Clement took a big hit from Jabrill Peppers, Engram came to Clement’s defense and ended up fighting with Logan Ryan.
But Engram is now one of several Giants to use the words “family” and brothers” when describing the team’s culture following the incident.
“No, we’re family. We’re brothers,” Engram said. “Literally, it’s in the past and we definitely got over it and learned from it. So like Logan said, things get chippy out here when competing and we’ve been competing ever since. It’s not going to stop. We’re family, we’re brothers and it was good for us just competing like that and bounce back from it.
“We got in the locker room and we were all laughing about it and chopping it up and talking about it. Like I said, we’re family, man. It’s like little brothers fighting, literally that’s how it was. We got in the locker room and we made up and we had fun and we all talked it out and it was all good.”
Fan Fest and preseason
The Giants welcome fans back to MetLife Stadium on Wednesday for Fan Fest, the team’s first and only public practice of the year. They play their first preseason game Saturday against the New York Jets. When asked about his emotions leading up to those events, Engram was ecstatic.
“I can’t wait, honestly. Honestly, I can’t. That’s been circled on my calendar. I do miss the fans at training camp every day like in the past. Just being back in the atmosphere and kind of getting a taste of what it’s going to be like come September 12th, I’m definitely looking forward to it and can’t wait.
“Football is football, but just our fans, how passionate they are, and every Sunday before last year that stadium was rocking. We feed off that. We feel like we’ve improved as a team and we’re ready to put the product that we’ve been working for and building for on the field for our fans.”
However, Engram won’t let those emotions distract him from taking care of business against the Jets. He would not confirm whether he will appear in the game, but here is his response when asked what he’s looking for on Saturday:
“Execution, whether I’m playing or everybody else is playing, execution. It’s our first preseason game. This is our first time beating up on somebody else other than ourselves, so the biggest thing for us to do is go out there and execute the little details. That’s the number one thing for our tight end room and as a team.
“I mean, I know every preseason game we played against the Jets, it’s been rocking. Even in a preseason game, I remember the first three years, it was a great atmosphere, so I’m definitely a fan. We’re just going to go out there and compete.”