Evan Engram should have caught the third-down pass to him late in Thursday night’s game that would have essentially sealed a win for the Giants but instead the ball slid off his fingers and began the avalanche of an epic collapse against the Eagles.
Even he said that.
"We got the look we wanted, a man look, won on the inside fade, D.J. threw a great ball, just didn’t finish the play," Enrgam lamented after the 22-21 loss. "One hundred percent I’ve got to make that [catch]."
Two people who won’t say it? Joe Judge and Daniel Jones.
While Jones, speaking after the game, maintained that he has to do a better job of ball placement on the pass – apparently Engram’s hands are not where the football is supposed to wind up? – Judge, even with the distance of time and the hindsight of having rewatched the fateful play on video, refused to cast blame.
"I think everyone has their own style right there," Judge said of calling out players – even those who have already done it to themselves. "To me, across the board, it’s easy to play Monday morning quarterback for a lot of people. We expect our players to perform in critical situations. Evan put us in position to be in that part of the game [Thursday] with how he performed. I thought he did a good job showing up, he was very productive for us. I like the way he comes to work, prepares and battles. We’ll address that [drop] internally with how we can do things. I have no complaints on how Evan comes to work, what kind of teammate he is, and what he’s helping us build going forward right there. With how some other head coach wants to handle that, that’s on them."
Judge even sidestepped the idea that he needs to have a conversation with Engram about his mental makeup following that play and what has been a rather unproductive season that began with very high expectations. Engram has 26 catches for 223 yards and no touchdowns through the first seven weeks. That 29.5 yards per game average ranks 27th among NFL tight ends. For a player who was expected to put up numbers in 2020 that would compare to some of the GOATs at his position, Engram has instead found himself the goat of more games than anyone would prefer.
"I’m not going to try and be a psychologist with him," Judge said. "I’m going to let him know right now, he’s an important player for us. He makes a lot of big plays… To me, there is not a player on our team that needs to worry about confidence or these questions about confidence issues. Confidence comes from practice, execution, and then in-game success. In terms of Evan as a player, we have all the confidence in him possible. We’re going to keep giving him the ball, keep making him the focal point of our offense. We expect him to keep showing up."
Engram does have four carries for 12 yards and a touchdown and had a touchdown reception nullified by a penalty against Dallas, but he also has been the intended target on three of the team’s costly turnovers this season, including one Thursday night when he couldn’t handle a close-range fastball from Jones that bounced off his hands and was intercepted.
Running back Wayne Gallman is one of Engram’s closer friends on the team.
"I just told him I got his back," Gallman said on Friday. "That’s my brother. We came in together [in the 2017 draft], we’ve been here together for a real long time. I love Evan. I told him I love him, and I got his back. That’s really all that needs to be said. He knows what he needs to do. He’s got to flip the switch. Go on to the next play, put that behind you and get prepared for the next week."
Barkley's surgery set
Saquon Barkley will have the surgery to repair his torn ACL late on Thursday, a source confirmed. The running back blew out his knee in Week 2 but doctors wanted to wait for the sprained MCL to heal and for the swelling around the joint to reduce before the reconstruction procedure. Barkley will have the surgery performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles (as well as head physician for the Rams and Dodgers). If all goes well during the procedure and in rehab, Barkley is still projected to be ready for the start of training camp in 2021. Whether he shows up for that event to begin what would be the fourth year of his rookie deal without a contract extension and the added security of a long-term deal, though, remains to be seen.