TE Evan Engram -- September 11, 2019
On if Sterling Shepard can’t play on Sunday:
A: No matter who is down, it’s next guy up mentality. I’ve just got to continue to work and make the most out of the opportunities that come my way.
Q: After the numbers you put up last weekend, you know the Bills are going to be doing a lot of concentrating on you, especially with Sterling maybe out of the lineup. How do you feel you’ll be able to meet that challenge against that defense?
A: That’s just trusting the game plan. The coaches will draw up a really good game plan for us to learn and attack all week. We’re going to get a lot of different looks—the Bills are a real physical, downhill defense, they send a lot of blitzes, and they were one of the best defenses in the league last year, and they had a pretty good game this past Sunday. So, it’s going to have to be an all-around effort for everybody, and guys are going to have to step up and make plays when the opportunities come.
Q: Your touchdown was a play-action with Saquon (Barkley)—how big of a weapon can that be for you guys?
A: That’s our identity that we’re working for. We have a really good running back and the offensive line is improving each and every day and being physical and creating those gaps for linebackers that they have to fill and they have to respect. That’s why we really take pride in our running game, especially in the tight end room, because we know when we get the job done there, it opens it up for us to be flashy and make plays in the pass game. That’s definitely a mindset that’s going to keep growing—to continue to be hungry and be more efficient in the run game, and everything else will be complimentary.
Q: When you run a route like that, can you see when the guy bites, and do you almost grin when you’ve got them?
A: It was important to get a really good punch on that D-end. D-ends fly up real fast and they’re real violent, definitely on the goal line. So, they had to respect the play-action and you have to do everything else to sell it as well. I was real focused on trying to get a good punch on the D-end and make sure Eli had a good, clean throw when we got to the back of the end zone.
Q: How do you see the Buffalo defense being different from the Cowboys’ defense?
A: They have a lot of different looks. They send their safeties really heavy and they rely on their safeties to come in and make plays in the run game. They play a little bit more man (coverage) than we saw last week. They’re a really disciplined team and really physical—Dallas was really physical as well—but I think they move a little bit more, and their defense and their blitzes rely on the guys in the secondary to be physical in the run game and also be well in man-to-man.
Q: When you look at the numbers from last week, do you sit there and say, “This could be a really good year for me?”
A: I don’t think about it like that. I made the most out of the opportunities that came my way. Each week, I’m just going to continue to be a big playmaker and understand that when I do my job well, whether it’s in the run game, pass game, it gives my team the best opportunity to win. So, just continue that mindset, try to build and try to find ways to improve no matter what the numbers are, and understand that as long as I do my job and do it to my best ability, it’s good for the team.
Q: This team has gotten off to slow starts in recent years. How important is it to start winning, and winning soon?
A: It’s important to win every week. Definitely our mindset is really strong, we’re strong mentally and understand what we have to fix and what we have to improve on. We know there are things that can hurt ourselves, and if we limit those it gives us a better chance to win. That’s the goal this week, to stop hurting ourselves and play the offense that we can play and play better as a team as a whole.