Giants will continue to use Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram in pass protection

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley and tight end Evan Engram are both dynamic play-makers with elite athleticism, but they also share something else in common: struggles in pass protection.

In a Week 1 loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers, both Barkley and Engram missed key blocks that led to pressure on second-year quarterback Daniel Jones, who was rushed on more than 50% of his throws.

After the game, retired Giants legend Tiki Barber caused a stir by specifically pointing out Barkley’s issue.

While meeting with reporters on Thursday, Barkley said he took Barber’s criticism as a “challenge” and vowed to get better, which is good news for the Giants because neither Barkley nor Engram are going to be replaced in those situations, according to offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.

“We believe Evan can be a complete tight end. He’s demonstrated that at different times throughout his career, and certainly during our time together in training camp up to this point. We don’t see him as a one-dimensional player who’s only a receiver,” Garrett told reporters on Thursday. “We also see him as someone who’s willing to do the stuff that tight ends do. Play on the ball with his hand on the ground, block the different ways that we’ll ask him to block. . . I thought there was good evidence of us being able to do that at different times collectively as a group, and other times it wasn’t good enough.

“One of the things we love about Saquon is his desire to be a complete back. That’s running the football, both inside and outside, as a pass receiver and also as a pass protector. Having said that, he can improve in all areas. That’s something that we like so much about him, is his desire to come in and get better and strive to be a complete back. There were some examples of him blocking well in the passing game the other night. There were some examples of him not blocking as well as he needs to. He knows that. We’re working on that, we’re trying to get him better in that area.”

Head coach Joe Judge previously admitted the team doesn’t have a whole lot of time for patience upfront, so the pressure is certainly on both Barkley and Engram to get this turned around quickly.

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