EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Evan Engram was selected to his first Pro Bowl in 2020, but he was just as proud of playing in all 16 games for the first time in his four seasons with the Giants.
While Engram might again be chosen by his peers as one of the NFL's finest tight ends, the second objective in that opening sentence is out of reach before the season has even begun. The Giants today announced that Engram will miss their season opener Sunday against the Denver Broncos in MetLife Stadium because of a calf injury he suffered in the preseason finale against New England.
The only other Giants on the week's final injury report are running back Saquon Barley (knee) and cornerback Adoree' Jackson (ankle), both of whom are questionable.
When he spoke to the media prior to practice, coach Joe Judge said Engram was "the one guy that we're going to take a look at today for the final time."
Judge said Engram "did some good things yesterday with the trainers." But Engram, who finished second on the team with 63 receptions last season, did not improve enough to keep him off the inactive list on Sunday.
"I know in Evan's mind, he's pushing to get back as fast as he can," Judge said. "Obviously, we'll make the right decision for him and the team, but he'd be the one that's kind of furthest away right now."
*Wide receiver Kenny Golladay, an important offseason acquisition, will make his Giants debut. He missed the preseason and much practice time with a hamstring injury suffered on Aug. 3.
"I'm excited," Golladay said. "Hopefully, all goes as planned. I can't wait to be out there Sunday around four o'clock.
"I'm feeling a lot better. I'm able to pretty much do everything and didn't have too much to think to about. I wasn't feeling sore afterwards. That's the biggest thing really. It's more so just going out there and being confident in the hamstring. I've had a couple and they're tricky, so once I was able to go out there and not think about it, then I could play like myself."
*The Giants will have several initiatives on Sunday in honor of the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. They will host area first responders, including members from the Wounded Warrior Project, a charity and veterans service organization that offers a variety of programs, services and events for wounded veterans. The Giants will also host Tuesday's Children, a non-profit organization that was formed in the aftermath of 9/11 to support families who lost a loved one. Both groups will be participating in pregame and halftime activities. The Giants players and coaches will also be wearing special hats to honor The New York City Police Department, New York City Fire Department and Port Authority Police Department and 9/11 lapel pins will be worn on the sidelines by coaches and team personnel.
*The Giants are 50-41-5 in season openers, 50-43-3 in home openers, 3-8 in MetLife openers and 17-14 in season-opening home games, including 1-3 in MetLife Stadium.
*The Giants will open their season at home against an AFC opponent for the second consecutive season and the third time in four years. Last season, they lost to Pittsburgh in a Monday night game, 26-16, and in 2018 they fell to Jacksonville, 20-15.
*The Giants are facing Denver in an opener for the first time in almost exactly 20 years. On Sept. 10, 2001, the Giants lost to the Broncos, 31-20, in the first regular-season game played in what is now Empower Field at Mile High.
*The Giants have started 0-2 or worse in four consecutive seasons and were 0-5 last year.
"There's not a game in history that's relevant or a season in history that's relevant to what's going to happen this year," Judge said. "Every game is independent. Every year's a new team. I would say specifically, in terms of starting fast, look, we all talk to our teams about starting fast. It's important you start fast within a game and give yourself the best chance of not playing from behind. It's important you start fast in the season and get going, but to me, the most important thing throughout the season is improving week by week. You've got to make sure you're a better product at the end of the season than you are at the start.
"If you look at our roster right now, how many guys are on our roster, practice squad that didn't go through training camp with us. The reality is that's a lot of teams in the league. You've got to come through this part of the season and really make sure you give everyone a chance to get on the field and truly identify what you're going to be as a team. You've got to improve in each phase of the season. Right now, we're in the first quarter of the season. It's important to start fast. OK, it's more important to finish strong in that fourth quarter and make sure you're a better team as you go down the stretch."
*The regular-season series is tied, 6-6. The Giants won the only postseason meeting when they crushed Denver in Super Bowl XXI, 39-20. They will try to win consecutive games against the Broncos for the first time since 1986-89 (two regular-season games and the Super Bowl). The Giants won the most recent meeting, 23-10, in Denver on Oct. 15, 2017, when Evan Engram scored the team's only offensive touchdown while totaling 82 receiving yards – 36 more than the rest of the team combined. They last hosted the Broncos on Sept. 15, 2013, when Denver earned a 41-23 victory in MetLife Stadium in the final game in which Eli and Peyton Manning faced each other as the starting quarterbacks.
View photos from Wednesday's practice as the Giants prepare for their Week 1 matchup against the Broncos.