Evan Engram latest in slew of Giants injuries to offensive players

More than 76 percent of the Giants’ offensive producers are injured.

Just think about the raw size of that number. Then add in three starting offensive linemen on injured reserve, too.

The staggering injury toll increased Thursday when tight end Evan Engram missed practice with a calf injury, joining running back Saquon Barkley (ankle) and receivers Kadarius Toney (ankle) and Kenny Golladay (hip) on the sidelines. Engram and Sterling Shepard — who was limited with a flare-up of a hamstring injury that already has caused him to miss two games — were new additions to the injury report.

Barkley, Toney and Golladay all are expected to miss Sunday’s game, though head coach Joe Judge described them as “making progress” with the trainers. Along with Shepard, receivers Darius Slayton (hamstring) and John Ross (hamstring), and tight end Kaden Smith (knee) were limited in practice.

Those eight banged-up players — plus receiver C.J. Board, who is on injured reserve — account for 1,665 of the Giants’ 2,164 offensive yards through six games. So, the Giants again will rely heavily on Devontae Booker, Collin Johnson, Dante Pettis and others who would have small or no roles if the team were at full strength.

Evan Engram
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“A real credit to the backup players having more of an extended role,” offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said. “They’re prepared and they’re trying to embrace the opportunity. The guys who are banged up are working hard to get themselves back as quick as they can, but when you have a different combination of players playing, you’ve just got to figure it out and try to make it work.”

Preparation is nice, but the truth is the talent drop-off from the starters to the backups is enormous. The struggle to score against the Rams (three points after three quarters) likely will be repeated against the Panthers unless Garrett is a magician.


Andrew Thomas (ankle, foot) is out, so Matt Peart will start at left tackle. That means the Giants will have their sixth different starting alignment on the offensive line in seven games. Sounds like a formula for calling short routes and handoffs on second-and-long to minimize room for mistakes.

“Running the football certainly helps the protection, throwing it quick, moving the quarterback, having extra guys protect and getting guys out to get them open quickly,” Garrett said. “There’s a variety of things you try to do every week to help your offensive line. Teams do it all around the league, and you’ve just got to try to settle in with some of the things that fit best for your team.”


OLB Azeez Ojulari (personal reasons) returned to practice after missing Wednesday. OL Ben Bredeson (hand) and DT Danny Shelton (pec) were limited.


CB Stephon Gilmore, the 2019 defensive player of the year, could make his Panthers debut after a trade from the Patriots.

“You certainly have to be aware of a player like that and come up with a plan if he is playing,” Garrett said. “I’ve got great respect for him. He’s been a really good player for a long time.”


Panthers special teams coordinator Chase Blackburn grabbed a huge interception in Super Bowl XLVI, when he won his second of two rings as a Giants backup linebacker.

During his first stint in New York, Giants special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey coached Blackburn. McGaughey then was the Panthers’ special teams coordinator with Blackburn as his assistant, so the respect runs deep.

“I truly think Chase is going to be a head coach in this league at some point in time,” McGaughey said.