Giants: Will Evan Engram Make The Giants Offense Predictable?
By Michael Stewart (@golferbad)
The selection of TE Evan Engram in the 2017 NFL draft has created the most controversy than any other 1st round pick during GM Jerry Reese tenure. Not based on his talent level, but on his role in the Giant’s offense. In college, Engram played multiple positions with great success and that will most likely be the formula for him for the Giants.
However; with only 11 players on offense at one time on the field, the Giants must figure out how to use Engram more efficiently and effectively within their offensive scheme. Currently, the Giants top offensive weapons are WR’s OBJ, Sterling Shepard and Brandon Marshall. Now throw in RB Paul Perkins (currently labeled as the starter) and that’s gives you 5 weapons to start; which includes Engram. Add in Manning and the 5 Offensive Linemen and that’s 11 total players.
Now it’s been already stated and documented that Engram is not a good blocker and HC Ben McAdoo has already stated that they plan to utilize Engram in multiple formation ( slot, outside, in the backfield (H-Back) and occasionally as a TE along the line of scrimmage). Last season, the Giants ranked near the bottom in rushing and also near the bottom in red zone efficiency; which is why GM Jerry Reese signed TE/FB Rhett Ellison mainly for his blocking talents and WR Brandon Marshall for his red zone ability. Now my question is: will the Giants offense be very predictable based on the personnel on the field? Let’s look at the options below:
- Giants with Rhett Ellison/Will Tye on the field & no Engram: When the Giants line up with only Ellison as the TE, will this be an indication that the Giants will mostly likely be running the ball. If not, are they not maximizing their full assets (Engram on the sidelines)?
- Giants employ a double TE formation: Whether it’s Elilison, Tye or whoever along with Engram on the field, having a double TE formation would mean that either Shepard or Marshall is on the sideline. Perhaps the Giants will employ an empty backfield; which will in all likelihood indicate a passing situation.
- Lining up Engram in the slot: This formation will probably be the most used to utilize Engrams talents as they could have Shepard in the slot on the other side to create mismatches for opposing teams.
- Lining up Engram on the outside: This option employs either another WR on the outside beside Engram or 2 WR’s on the opposite side of the field.
- Lining up Engram in the backfield as an H-Back: I think this formation should rank 2nd behind the slot to utilize Engrams ability.
The selection of Engram could make the Giants offense predictable if the Giants can’t find a way to be creative. If Engram is the lone TE on the field, it could be hard to imagine the Giants running game to be any better than last season with basically the same OL. Also, with all these weapons for Eli Manning; will he be able to contribute the ball equally to keep opposing teams off-balance or will he target one or two weapons only; which would minimize the Giants offensive production?
Bottom line is that the Giants need to run the ball better if Engram is the only TE on the field, which is a lot to ask with basically the same OL from last season. Manning might have to throw 40+ times per game and that would make the Giants offense one-dimensional and very predictable. So we will see if this is a good problem or a bad problem to have.