Tight Ends Coach Lunda Wells -- September 13, 2019
Q: You havenít talked to us since the preseason. Going back, how tough was it to lose (Scott) Simonson?
A: It was tough. Heís a guy who came in, worked hard, did everything that you asked him to do and left it all out on the field. Itís tough losing him because you know the hard work that heís put into everything. But like I told him, thereís no better way to go out than to go out catching a touchdown. Thatís at least a reward. But it was tough.
Q: When you look at last week, Evan (Engram) is what, 11 (receptions) and 120 or 116 yards. Is that just him developing this year, or is that what Dallas was giving you and you took it?
A: I always look at it as what they gave us. He just did a nice job of answering the bell and stepping up when his number was called. We always talk about making sure weíre ready to go when our number is called, and he did a nice job of that last week.
Q: Can he do that every week?
A: Again, weíre not focusing on every week. Weíre focused on this week with Buffalo. Heís put in a tremendous amount of work. We talk about it in our room, being intentional with our work. Heís been very intentional. All of those guys have been intentional this week. Whatever comes about this week, weíre prepared to handle it.
Q: What do you like about having Engram and (Rhett) Ellison on the field at the same time? Obviously, (Sterling) Shepard is on the injury report, (Cody) Latimer is on the injury report. Maybe your best look might be Ellison and Engram on the field at the same time.
A: We always talk about it in our room. Those two guys donít really compete against each other. Theyíre there merely to complete each other. They do a nice job of complimenting each other in terms of working together and executing everything that weíre asking them to do. They do a nice job of working together with each other.
Q: Youíve obviously known Evan for as long as heís been here. Iím just curious, from a physical standpoint, but also from a mental standpoint, that kind of game in Week 1, all of the talk about potential for him. Can that have kind of a statement and kind of boost him going into the year?
A: Again, we deal with every week, week by week. In terms of boosting him into the year, weíre just worried about being boosted into the next week and focused on doing our jobs to the best of our ability in Week 2 and improving. I demonstrated to him earlier in the week, just stack successes. Donít worry about the overall year. Donít worry about Week 17. Just worry about Week 2 and improving and being more consistent with the things that weíre asking him to do.
Q: Not to just keep making it about Evan, but in terms of his skillset, so much has been made about what he can and canít do. The player you saw last week, the player you have going into this week, how different is he than maybe the player that you first started coaching here?
A: When we talk about the players in that room, itís about being a complete tight end. I always tell these guys, ĎHey, you have your blood on every phase in the game. You have it in the run game, you have it in pass protection, and you have it in the passing game.í The way we go about our business, being intentional with all of our work, everything is put forward to be a complete tight end in every phase. Again, heís done a nice job with learning what to do. Not only what to do, but also how to do it. Heís done a nice job, and all of those guys have done a nice job with that.
Q: What did you know about (Eric) Tomlinson before you guys got him? Obviously, you played each other in the preseason. I donít know how much youíre watching the other teamís tight ends in the preseason thinking, ĎOh, maybe heís available.í
A: Tough, gritty guy. Heís the type of guy that we want in our New York Giants tight end room. Gritty, smart, competitive. If you have those redeeming qualities, then we have a place for you. Itís exciting to have him.
Q: Like I said, itís rare that you actually pick up a guy that you played against. Did that help him? Were you thinking in your mind, ĎOh, this guy is a pretty good player.í Did it help you that you had seen him within the last three weeks?
A: Again, for me, with the process of them signing him, I wasnít quite sure what route they were going with. But once he came in, I had some familiarity with him and was happy to have him.
Q: Obviously, we havenít seen him get on the field yet. But (Garrett) Dickerson just making the 53 (man roster), what did he show you to earn that?
A: Consistency, improvement, and understanding everything that weíre asking him to do and how weíre asking him to do it. The biggest thing that I think Garrett did a nice job of in the preseason was that he jumped off the tape. I always tell those guys, ĎHey look, you donít make the team by just blending in with the grass. You need to do something to jump off the tape and make people want you to be on the team.í He did a nice job of doing that this preseason and in training camp.
Q: A guy that jumped off to us a little, weíre not watching tape, was CJ Conrad. He made some really spectacular catches going back to OTAs and all the way through. What does he have to do to take the next step?
A: Just keep improving, just keep being intentional with his work and working on the things that we need him to get better at. Heís moving forward. Heís doing a nice job with everything that weíre asking him to do. I like him.
Q: Is there anything specific that you would share that he needs to get better at?
A: Itís everything. Just improving as an overall tight end. Heís a rookie. Itís a lot being thrown at him. Just continue to grasp the schemes. Again, I always hone back on itís not just about the schemes, itís about how we execute the schemes with the technique. Just continue to grasp that.
Q: As a whole, are your tight ends better blockers than a year ago?
A: I think New York Giants tight ends have improved as blockers. The New York Giants tight ends have improved, and we need to continue to improve. We have ways to go. It starts this week. Turning the page. These guys have done a nice job this week working. Now we just have to take our drill work to game day and get it done.
Q: We saw Evan get that block on Saquonís (Barkley) big run. What did you make of that?
A: He did a nice job. Like I said, we always preach on the practice field, take your drill work to the team work. Now going into game day, take that team work to game day. He did a nice job executing the techniques that we work on. It was good to see him do that.
Q: Is that almost as important for him as getting 100 yards or making all those big catches, for Evan to sort of complete his game, in your mind?
A: In my mind, itís important for him to do that because itís important for the team. When weíre blocking, I always said it last year and Iíll say it again, thatís what I call working in silence. That block doesnít show up on the stat sheet, but we all know that that block is important. Itís all about putting the team in a position to be successful. Itís not all about just making a catch. Obviously, when we have an opportunity to make some catches and impact the scoreboard, we want to do that. But when it comes down to blocking, we need to get it done. Period. We need to get it done for the team.