TE Evan Engram
September 24, 2020
Q: Did something click for you in the second half in Chicago where you really picked up your production? When you see guys like Saquon and Sterling Shepard go down, do you look inside yourself and say, ‘ok, I need to do more now’?
A: The first question, I definitely kind of got going. I got into a rhythm, kind of got settled in. That was our mindset as an offense coming out for the second half. To get going, make some plays, get the ball rolling. That was just me kind of getting opportunities and cashing in on them, doing my job. About Saquon and Shep, it’s very unfortunate. It sucks losing my brothers like that. I think it’s on everybody. Everybody on the offense, everybody on the team to kind of dig deep and come in ready to work hard and perform.
Q: Why do you think early this season, at least for you personally, the big plays haven’t been coming?
A: It comes down to execution. I think that’s kind of what we’re improving on as a team and working on, building on, is executing the small things and fundamentals. Making sure those things are happening, and then allowing those things to lead to the big plays. We’re chipping away, we’re working, and we’re staying ready for those moments. Like I said, we have to cash in on them when they present themselves.
Q: You’ve been outside in the slot a lot this year. Does that help with that in that regard of being able to produce the big plays? How does that work for you?
A: That’s just the offense within the scheme. We have guys that move around everywhere and are going to get opportunities to make plays all over the field.
Q: We haven’t gotten the chance to talk to Wayne Gallman much. I know you guys are close. I’m curious what his mindset is now? Obviously, Saquon goes out. What do you say to him or what has he said to you about his opportunity here, because we know last year he stepped up when Saquon got injured for a game? Then Wayne got hurt and he kind of disappeared down at the end of the season and we never really knew why. What do you see from Wayne this offseason or this week or now about his opportunity?
A: Wayne has always been a guy that just comes in and attacks everything that he’s asked of. Obviously, he’s been in the room with Saquon and definitely working behind him, learning from him and learning with him. That’s helped him a lot. But he’s attacked every single day, especially this camp. He came in and really attacked camp and has always stayed ready. Wayne is a real laidback guy. He definitely understands the opportunity that presents itself, but he’s still coming in, attacking the work the way he always has.
Q: Just going back to what you were saying before. Do you think the slow start in general was a result of a new system, you hadn’t really had as much time to work on it in the spring, you had to learn it on the fly in the summer? Not learn it but execute it. Do you think things are just kind of slowing down, not just for you but for the rest of the offense?
A: I don’t want to make any excuse. I think everybody is in the same boat. Everybody has had a different offseason and had to overcome some things with the circumstances that COVID has kind of presented. Our mentality as a team is we have to be better. We have to start faster. We have to get it done. You can’t really look at, ‘oh, we didn’t get to do this or haven’t gotten to do that’. It definitely was good to get going as an offense in the second half. Show what we can do. But now it’s all about building on that and being more consistent.
Q: Admirable, but you say everybody was in the same boat. You guys were learning a brand new system whereas not every team was learning a new system. I appreciate you don’t want to make any excuses, but with that said, I’m sure that had to play into it just a little bit, wouldn’t you say?
A: Like I said, there are no excuses on our end. We need to get it done. That’s what we’re doing, we’re working on it.
Q: You have obviously been here the last three years. You know, I know this is not a place where you guys want to be at 0-2. But considering where you’re at right now, assuming you do, why do you have confidence this is different than what you guys have experienced in the past and where this team thinks it can go over the next couple of weeks?
A: Just the way we work. Like you said, we’d like to be in a better situation, but it’s where we are. But I do feel confident. That’s not going to change because the way we work and the way we practice and the way we prepare. We’re expecting to go out there and execute and win. There’s no time to really dwell on where we are and what the record is. Right now, we’re 0-0 with the opportunity to go 1-0 against the 49ers.
Q: I’m sure you’ve heard this stat because we write it all the time and say it all the time, but last year, you, Slayton, Shep, Tate and Saquon never played a snap together. Then this game, you guys were all there and I think it was like five snaps together. Now you’re going to go this whole year without it because of Saquon. What do you make of that? I know you don’t want excuses, but is it almost like you throw your hands up and say, ‘when are we going to get to show what we can really do?’
A: It’s tough. Like I said, it’s unfortunate. It’s tough losing brothers and it’s tough not being able to compete as a group. It makes it harder because of all the work we have put in together, and definitely we’re expecting big things of ourselves and preparing for big things. It’s kind of the hand that we’re dealt. We have to continue to move forward.