Evan Engram won’t be wearing an expensive watch on his wrist for the home opener against the Bills.
But he knows what time is.
It is his time.
His Giants teammates will tell you the sky is the limit for him, and so now, with the Odell Beckham Watch on in Cleveland and Sterling Shepard in the concussion protocol, it is time for him to be Heaven Engram.
When you ask Engram following his 11-116-1 TD breakout against the Cowboys if he can be among the best or the best tight end, he says: “Yessir. Yessir, hundred percent. That’s just the standard I hold myself to.”
It is the same standard that Saquon Barkley sets for himself. It is the same standard that Mark Bavaro set for himself. It is in no way braggadocio. It is in no way cockiness. It is belief in yourself.
“It’s self-explanatory, I feel like I can be, that’s my motivation, that’s the way I work,” Engram told The Post.
“I’m not coming out saying I’m better than everybody else, I’m coming out saying that the way I work and the standards I want to hold myself to each and every day, that’s gonna push me to that point.
“It’s cocky when you say, ‘Oh, I’m better than that guy’ or ‘I do more than that guy.’ There’s a lot of talented tight ends in this league that do a lot of different things.
“I think when you put it as, ‘That’s the way I work, that’s the way I approach the game,’ and approach the player I want to be for my team, there’s nothing wrong with that.”
Wide receiver Russell Shepard is convinced that Engram can be the Giants’ version of Travis Kelce.
“I think you can put him up there with the Travis Kelces of the world, you can put him up there with the dominant tight ends that have got on the perimeter and made plays against any defensive player that the defense chooses to put in front of him,” Shepard told The Post.
Jabrill Peppers relishes the practice battles against Engram.
“I personally believe he’s gonna be if not [the] top, one of the top tight ends this year,” Peppers told The Post. “Just his skill-set, his speed, he’s definitely if not the fastest tight end I think in the league, the way they set him up, isolate him on guys, his route-running ability, catch radius. … He just has to stay healthy. If he stays healthy, man, look out. You guys got a glimpse of it on Sunday, and that was through a bad performance as us as a team. So just wait until everything’s clicking.
“I’m blessed I get to see that every day in practice because that allows me to go into a game with a certain level of confidence because I know I’m not gonna see too many guys that’s better than him.”
Engram, at a finely tuned 6-foot-3, 237 pounds, is faster than a speeding linebacker, more powerful than a safety or cornerback, and may finally be able to leap tall expectations in a single bound.
“I want to continue to improve on being a dynamic playmaker, being special when the ball’s in my hands, being physical in the run game, just being an all-around tight end for the offense,” he said.
Engram missed two games last September (knee) and three more in November (hamstring) and it killed him.
“That’s not my mission, trying to prove anybody wrong,” he said. “People are gonna always doubt, people are gonna always second-guess, whatever. I’m just hungry to be the player I know I am. “
When he isn’t a matchup nightmare, he takes pride in being more than a willing blocker.
“He’s so much more comfortable in the offense, the second year in an offense, and he’s doing a good job,” Eli Manning said.
Engram was 64-722-6 TDs as a rookie in 2017 and 45-577-3 TDs last season. Over the last four games of the 2018 season, he was 22-320-1 TD.
“He’s definitely itching to prove something,” Peppers said.
And there is no better fan base for him to prove it to than the one that will welcome the 0-1 2019 Giants at the home opener. Engram’s parents will be there, and his kid sister Mackenzie, always a source of motivation for him, is working this season with the Giants video department.
“They deserve to see the football that we know we can play,” Engram said. “They’ve been through hell and back the past couple of years, and we know we’re on the right track to playing really good football and giving them the experience and giving them the team to cheer for that they deserve.”
Heaven Engram Time.
Source: Read Full Article