Athletic Tight End Could Be Just What Struggling QB Manning Needs To Put Some Points On The Board Monday At Atlanta

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s no secret the Giants haven’t exactly been an offensive juggernaut this season — and that’s with two of the best playmakers in the NFL.

Well, they may soon get a third young star back from injury and he says he’s as eager as anyone to make an impact right away.

Tight end Evan Engram, who missed the previous three games due to a knee injury, practiced Tuesday and could return to the Giants (1-5) on Monday night when they travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons (2-4).

Engram, who was selected 23rd overall in the first round of last year’s draft, had a very good game in Week 2 at Dallas before leaving early the next week at Houston. He said he watched the Giants’ putrid performance in last Thursday’s 34-13 home loss to Philadelphia and decided he really wants to be part of the solution.

“Thursday night was tough,” Engram told the Daily News. “I’m just gonna try to come back and be a spark for the offense, for the team, definitely. So it should be good. I’m excited. Going back home, too.”

Evan Engram

Giants tight end Evan Engram flies through the air after being tackled by Broncos free safety Darian Stewart during the game on Oct. 15, 2017 in Denver. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Engram’s presence might be just the tonic veteran quarterback Eli Manning needs to get back on his game. Manning connected with Engram early and often throughout the tight end’s 64-catch, 722-yard rookie season.

Manning has been the subject of much criticism of late over his apparent troubles throwing the deep ball. He was the subject of some disparaging words from Odell Beckham Jr. during an interview the loquacious receiver gave to ESPN prior to the Giants’ loss at Carolina in Week 5 and didn’t exactly get a glowing endorsement from John Mara on Tuesday when the longtime owner spoke to reporters during a break at the Owners Meetings in New York City.

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Engram obviously isn’t a deep threat, but the 6-foot-3, 240-pounder’s presence underneath and over the middle could soften defenses enough for Beckham and fellow wideout Sterling Shepard to find some openings down field, and for Saquon Barkley to make things happen as a receiver out of the backfield.

Additional good news is the Falcons have a pass defense ranked 29th in the NFL, allowing 296 yards per game.