Despite Evan Engram’s frustrating first half and limited playing time, Giants tight end coach Lunda Wells thinks he is trending upward and can build off a strong finish against the 49ers on Monday night.
Engram was on the field for only 36 snaps, about half as many as in the previous game, but made four catches for 46 yards, including two in the Giants’ winning drive.
“I think he’s made tremendous strides in the right direction, but at the end of the day, who was in and who wasn’t in was predicated on putting guys in the best position to be successful,” Wells said. “He’s developing in every aspect.”
Though coach Pat Shurmur previously classified Engram as a pass-catching tight end, Wells said he can and will contribute to the blocking in the running game, especially as the Giants look to give Saquon Barkley more room to stretch his legs.
Engram, who had a knee injury earlier this year, has been plagued by a few drops, including a pivotal one to end what could have been a tying drive against the Redskins in a 20-13 loss on Oct. 28.
“At times you get down a little bit,” Wells said, “especially right after [a loss]; because he’s a competitor, he wants to do his best to get the team a chance to win, so he feels more so that he let the team down after that. We’re just moving forward and keep throwing a lot of hard work and effort at it.”
Monday “gave him a little confidence,” Wells said. “Obviously, you go out there and hit a home run and feeling pretty good about yourself, but [you need to] continue to throw hard work at it, continue to work at it.”
Rice: No Hall for Eli. Legendary 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice said in a radio interview Thursday that Eli Manning is too inconsistent to belong in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Asked what he thought of Rice’s comments, Shurmur demurred. “Listen, everybody has an opinion. That’s his opinion. I’m not going to get into all that,” he said.
Rookie linebacker Lorenzo Carter disagreed. “I think that’s tough,” he said. “Eli’s a Hall of Famer in my eyes. He’s my quarterback, I love him. Two Super Bowls. Hard to talk against that.”