JACKSONVILLE – The goals and approach are the same.
That’s the first thing Evan Engram will tell you about this week, but the veteran Jaguars tight end will tell you something else, too:
There is a little extra excitement in this “normal” week.
“It’s going to be fun,” Engram said as the Jaguars (2-4) prepared to play the New York Giants (5-1) at TIAA Bank Field on Sunday at 1 p.m.
What makes it fun for Engram is that it will be his first game against the Giants, the team that selected him 23rd overall in the 2017 NFL Draft.
“I know he’s excited to play with those guys,” Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence said. “He’s one of our hardest workers, after practice, during practice, he just always gets extra reps. I’m sure there’s a little more emotion behind it this week playing his old team. That’s how it should be every week, but I definitely think that is excited about this. We all are.”
Engram spent five seasons with the Giants, catching 262 passes for 2,828 yards and 16 touchdowns. He signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent in March.
“It’s just weird,” he said. “Practicing with those guys, playing with those guys for the past five years … this will be the first time [to play against them]. I know a lot of guys that are still there. They’re having success. They’re one of the best teams in the league right now.
“I know more guys on offense, but even the guys on defense … it’s going to be cool to see them and play against them. We have a chance to beat them, so that’s cool.”
Engram said while words may be exchanged on Sunday — “a little something, something” — he added that any such interaction will definitely be “all in fun.”
“This is another place where we have to win,” Engram said. “We have to win this one. The sense of urgency is here. I’m excited to play these guys. It’s going to be a fun game, for sure. But I’m caught up here, what we have to win.”
Engram also said he likes the progress made by the Jaguars offense and Lawrence this season. He’s caught 24 passes for 208 yards and no touchdowns in six games, and the Jaguars offense ranks 11th in the NFL in total yards after finishing 27th last season.
They are also scoring 23 points per game after scoring 14.9 points per game last season.
“I think we’re right where we need to be,” Engram said. “We are growing every day. Things like that, relationships that are really special… they don’t happen overnight. We really work together in this offense. He works with everyone. He wants that connection with everyone.
“We are exactly where we need to be and we are also growing together.”
Engram signed a one-year contract with the Jaguars in March, essentially gambling himself in free agency with the idea of signing a long-term deal with the team next offseason. Through six games, he said he couldn’t be happy with the decision.
“I’m really growing as a professional footballer here,” he said. “I’m learning so much. I love the relationships I build in this locker room. I love this locker room. I love the culture we have here and where we are going.
“I work here and play shows on Sundays. Wherever it leads, God will take care of it.”
Who is number 17 on Jaguars?
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