Giants TE Evan Engram just can't catch a break.
The Ole Miss product didn't have the sophomore season he was hoping for after a solid debut back in 2017. Injuries that included a concussion as well as hamstring and knee ailments kept him out five games. And when he was in the game, Engram didn't seem like his normal self as he battled back to full strength.
Unfortunately, his third year isn't getting off to the best start either. Engram has been dealing with another hamstring injury that has kept him out most of the OTAs as well as the three-day minicamp last week.
But luckily Engram doesn't seem too worried about this injury with training camp coming at the end of July. It is more caution than anything that is keeping Engram sidelined, and he said he feels good at the moment.
"I feel good," he told reporters at the last media availability OTA on Tuesday. "Definitely just out there running, definitely out there watching the guys compete. I feel good. Working with the trainers, just taking it easy.
"It is kind of hard not being out there with the guys, especially since we've been competing so much. Get the blood juicing. But not worried about it. It's still early. We still got a lot to play for, so there is no need to rush or press anything."
A 100 percent healthy Engram could fill a large void in the passing game left by WR Odell Beckham. In Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate, you have two receivers that will pick up yards with their nifty moves and solid route running. However, they don't necessarily serve as a deep ball/red zone threat.
Many expect Eli Manning (or maybe Daniel Jones if it shakes out that way) to use Engram in that respect, using his speed and vertical leap to many those highlight-reel plays down the field. But Engram downplayed the notion that he'll make up for the type of production Beckham had over his five seasons with Big Blue.
Instead, he sees it more as a team effort.
"We got a couple rooms filled with guys that can do that," he said, referencing plays to stretch the field. "I definitely feel that I am one of them, but we have a lot of guys who can do that for this team. Definitely trying to make as many plays as possible underneath, over top, in the middle. I think we have a lot of guys that can do the same, too. We got options, pretty much and definitely look forward to one of those guys making plays."
It's good to see Engram not taking all the responsibility, but his physical attributes and mismatch potential at his position is why the Giants drafted him in the first round two years ago. If he is to have a bounce-back season, it should be common to see balls come his way where he has to go up and get them down the field.
However, that isn't all Shurmur had in store for Engram last season. Using his 4.42 speed, Engram saw three rushing attempts come his way last season where he picked up 36 yards. He was also set out in motion on many plays, something you don't normally see from a tight end. Overall, he totaled 577 yards on 45 receptions and three touchdowns -- down numbers compared to 722 yards on 64 receptions and six touchdowns.
Those rookie numbers, though, mostly came due to Beckham being out for the season with his ankle injury. That will be the case all season long, and by using his versatility, Engram could be primed for that bounce-back year he so desires.
"I just try to be as versatile as I can be," he said. "I like making plays when the ball is in my hands. The coaches did a really good job last year of working around not having 'O' and definitely trying to get guys in different positions. Definitely going to look forward to doing more of that this year, and like I always say, just doing whatever I am asked to do to the best of my ability."
Before any of that can happen, he must continue to rehab his hamstring back to full strength and hope injuries won't once again stunt his growth in the Giants' offense.