We know Daniel Jones is on the field for every offensive snap, but did you know Evan Engram led all skill position players by being on the field for 94% of the snaps?
The Giants offense ran 68 plays on Monday night against the Steelers. Evan Engram was on the field for 64 of those snaps. That will tell you the value the Giants coaches place on Engram. Engram was very visible to fans in Week 1, not necessarily all in a good way. Jones targeted Engram seven (7) times, second to Saquon Barkley who totaled nine (9) targets.
Engram could not make the most of his opportunities, catching only two balls and having his largest gain (22 yards) negated by his offensive pass interference “stiff arm” for separation. Engram also struggled as a blocker. He missed some key chip blocks and was manhandled by the Steeler edge rushers.
Very High Use of Three Tight End Sets
Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett has historically favored tight ends in his schemes. In fact, the Giants sent “13” personnel (three tight ends on the field) a whopping 15 of the offensive plays (22%). That meant Kaden Smith and Levine Toilolo joined Engram. Some of this was to try to isolate our wide receivers in one-on-one coverage as Joe Judge showed in his first “Joe Judge Report” on Giants.com.
Other times, its to try to start a dormant running game (not much success) or help out in pass protection (mixed results). Three of the Giants’ four active TEs (Eric Tomlinson is the 4th) were on the field for more than 50% of the offensive snaps.
Giants Coaches See Engram and the TEs in General as Key to the Offense
Coach Garrett doubled-down on Engram and his ability to become an all-around excellent TE. Coach Judge also continued to heap praise on Engram for his work ethic and energy, citing his motor at 100% at all times in practice and in games. When questioned about Engram’s blocking ability, Judge reiterated his belief in Engram as “absolutely” an above-average blocker.
Clearly, the Giants have had additional success in bringing TEs onto the roster, mainly by raiding the San Francisco 49ers. Both Kaden Smith and Levine Toilolo were with the 49ers in 2019. Early in the 2019 season, the 49ers tried to sneak Kaden Smith through waivers and keep him on their practice squad. When you are the backup to George Kittle, that doesn’t mean you don’t have star power yourself. Dave Gettleman claimed Smith immediately. Smith has above average talent and sure-hands and demonstrated it as a Giant consistently last year. When Engram was hurt, Smith never missed a beat.
Levine Toilolo was the backup and blocking TE for the 49ers through 2019. He’s an 8-year veteran that the Giants signed as a free agent in the Spring. Toilolo is a huge red zone target if given the opportunity.
Giants Have a Tradition of TE Success
I might be biased because I was a tight end back in the day (way back). When you look back at Giants’ successful teams, each had a tight end that played significant roles.
Mark Bavaro was a beast in helping the Giants win their first two Super Bowls.
Howard Cross was key to the second super bowl. Kevin Boss, Bear Pascoe, and Jake Ballard contributed to the Super Bowl XLII and XLVI runs and the grand finale upsets over the Patriots.
When you look at the 2020 tight end group, you can see the potential to set themselves apart as a strong presence in the lineup.
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