Monday’s training camp practice showed just how good the New York Giants offense can be.
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall caught everything thrown in his direction. Rookie tight end Evan Engram used his well-documented quick first step to make defenders look mighty slow (including All-Pro safety Landon Collins) and, like Marshall, catch everything quarterback Eli Manning threw to him.
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The offense needed a boost in the worst way, only averaging 19.7 per game in 2016 after averaging more than 26 points a game in 2015. The free agent signing of Marshall and the drafting of Engram in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft is just what the Giants needed to jump start their offense.
Marshall and Engram started off slowly in Giants training camp, now they’re catching everything.
“We’re doing some good stuff, Brandon and I, getting on the same page,” Manning said. “Every day there’s something new that comes up though. A route here, a concept, just getting on the same timing. You can kind of talk about everything, but you’ve got to get in as many live reps, one-on-ones, get different routes, getting on the same timing with things will be good.
“Same with Evan. He’s making some plays, doing a lot of good things, but the more one-on-ones, the more situations, different things come up every practice. There’s something to learn from every day.”
The Giants have one of the NFL’s deepest, most talented receiving corps with the explosive Odell Beckham Jr. and slot receiver Sterling Shepard. Marshall brings size to the table sorely lacking with the Giants.
Marshall reminds Manning of Plaxico Burress. No. 17 was a receiver who didn’t always have to be open in order to catch the ball. Manning often threw Burress open, something he did with Marshall on Monday.
“Yeah, I mean, they’re both similar height. And smarts on football, body control, being able to go up and get the ball,” Manning said. “So yeah, I say some definite similarities there. Obviously with Plaxico, I had a number of years playing with him, so I knew what he was going to do, knew how to read his body.
“I knew whether it was going to be a back shoulder versus a fly or a jump ball. So, we need more live reps doing that.”
Marshall caught one pass with cornerback Michael Hunter all over his back. He made another catch with cornerback Eli Apple draped on his shoulders. This is exactly why the Giants signed him to a two-year, $12 million deal in March.
“The film shows, the evidence shows, year after year that the more traffic he’s in, it seems like the better he plays,” head coach Ben McAdoo said.