The jitters of his first ever NFL game are behind him, and now it's time for Evan Engram to prove his worth on the roster.
EAST RUTHERFORD. N.J. – Evan Engram is going to reprise his first-game jitters for the Giants' second preseason game.
The Giants' first-round draft choice was admittedly a bit nervous prior to the team's opener last week against Pittsburgh. He caught one pass for 11 yards and afterward said playing in an NFL game was "a dream come true."
The dream will continue Monday night in Cleveland, where the Giants will face the Browns. Now that he's competed as a professional, will Engram be any less nervous in Game No. 2?
"It's still going to be kind of nerve-wracking and exciting," he said today. "I'm really pumped about it. It was a really cool feeling out there, getting out there and having your uniform on and being out there warming up. It kind of really hit me in that moment, and I don't think it's ever going to go away. I'm really excited, I can't wait for Monday night. I think it adds to my game, the eagerness to do well and get out there and run around to make plays. I think all that adds into my performance."
Despite his anxiety, Engram said his emotions are always under control prior to a game.
"I'm pretty calm," he said. "I stay pretty calm and kind of stay locked in and keep to myself. And then once that first catch, or once that first hit comes, then everything kind of just unwinds. I'm not really rowdy or go crazy or anything. I'm really kind of calm and under control. But there's some nerves built up. So the first couple of plays, I get that all out of the system."
Engram was asked what he learned in his first preseason game.
"I had to lock in," he said. "Just being out there, I was kind of wide-eyed and a little nervous. So, being in the huddle, I kind of had to slow down, lock in, hear the play call, get to the line. Just kind of slow everything down. In practice, we go through reads and just do all my stuff I usually do. But in the game, sometimes those nerves will build up, especially being a rookie and your first time out there, definitely stuff flies over your head. So, just kind of slowing everything down, locking in, get back to what you've been doing. That's probably the biggest thing I've taken away."
For Engram, one of the biggest changes occurred before the opening kickoff.
"In college (at Ole Miss), we never stood out there for the national anthem, we were always in the locker room," he said. "The atmosphere (was different), and realizing that we have an NFL shield on our jersey and an 'NY' on our helmets. So, that just raised the level. Playing a great team in Pittsburgh, I grew up watching all these teams and watching guys who we're going up against and I'm out there on the field with them. So, it's definitely just a different level, emotionally and physically and x's and o's, it's just a whole other level."
*Jason Pierre-Paul is getting accustomed to a new partner on the Giants' defensive front. The tackle who started next to him last season, Johnathan Hankins, now plays for the Indianapolis Colts. Fourth-year pro Jay Bromley has taken most of the first-team snaps at that position.
"He's made a tremendous jump," JPP said of Bromley. "The way he gets off the ball, the way he uses his power. The way he's reading the blocks, he's not just running up the field. Jay is a totally different player from four years ago. I think he's ready. I think this is going to be his come-out year."
Pierre-Paul said he and Bromley have developed a good working relationship.
"I think the chemistry is there," he said. "I help him out, he helps me out. It's all about the communication. We don't know everything. Sometimes, a call will be called and I turn over and ask Jay, 'Hey, what's the call?' because I forget it sometimes. He'll tell me, and I'll do the same exact thing for him because I know there's a lot on his mind because there's a lot on my mind as well, but we communicate together. As long as we communicate, everything is okay."
*Linebacker Keenan Robinson left practice early today and is in the concussion protocol. Robinson suffered a concussion on Aug. 2 and had been cleared to return to practice earlier this week.
Photos of Ole Miss TE Evan Engram