The Giants’ offense is shaping up to have a lot of potent players. Odell Beckham Jr. appears to be on the brink of a full return from ankle surgery, Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard are developing into stars, and first-round pick Saquon Barkley has the potential to become a game-changer.
But there will still be only one football on the field.
That’s why the Giants are spending a lot of time this spring trying to figure out how they’ll be able to employ all of their offensive pieces in a single system.
“We definitely have a lot of talent, and we’re going to utilize all of it as well,” Engram said after Tuesday’s OTA workout in which he made a dynamic catch down the right sideline on a deep pass from Eli Manning. “The ball’s going to find the best player. We don’t really care where the ball goes, I just know we have a lot of talent.”
There is one sure way to make everyone happy no matter their number of touches.
“As long as we’re winning games, I don’t really care how it comes together,” Shepard said. “I just don’t want to have another season like last year, so whoever gets the ball, I know that you can trust in them to make big plays. I’m happy about that.”
Added Engram: “I know based off last year, we’d all like a lot more wins at any cost. We’re going to have the guys that are going to come in and compete and do whatever it takes to win a ballgame and not really worry about personal accolades and numbers.”
With each passing day of practice, that seems more realistic and more within reach.
“We have all the pieces to the puzzle, we just have to kind of put it all together,” Shepard said. “I think the coaches are doing a great job with all the different schemes that we have and having guys in the backfield and a line that can get us open, I feel like we’re heading in the right path. We’ve just got to keep doing what we’ve got to do.”
The newest piece is Barkley, who is already affecting the team. Coach Pat Shurmur raved about him yet again Tuesday.
“He hasn’t disappointed us one bit,” Shurmur said of the second overall draft pick. “We have high expectations for all of our rookies, especially Saquon. He’s been out there running the ball well and is catching it well. He did a nice job today in pass protection. He’s doing all the things now that we need to see him do to trust him out on the field next fall. He has done a good job.”
Barkley’s impact goes beyond when he has the ball in his clutches.
“Even the way that he handles himself,” Shepard said. “He comes into every huddle dapping everybody up and just trying to get us going. That’s not really what you see from a rookie, but he’s been doing a great job out here learning the schemes and bringing energy.”
As for those skills?
“Really explosive,” Shepard said. “If you look at his legs, it’s like tree trunks, so I can imagine how hard it is to tackle that guy. But yeah, it’s definitely a great piece to add to the puzzle.”
Getting it to fit may be the only struggle.