The New York Giants are hoping to take a significant step forward on offense during the 2021 season. Theyâ€™ve added a plethora of new talent to the unit, including Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney, two elite playmakers who can change the course of a game in the blink of an eye.
However, one of their veteran receivers is hoping to make a similar impact, and heâ€™s more than capable of doing so based on his past production. The 28-year-old Sterling Shepard is hoping to wind back the clock and replicate even his 2018 season, where he posted 872 yards and four touchdowns.
In 2018, Shepard played in all 16 games; his career has been littered with injuries that have derailed him at times and hurt his progression. Heâ€™s hoping to remain completely healthy for the 2021 season and show his team that he can be a liable option week in and week out.
â€œWe actually had to write down our goals last week, my number one (goal) was to play all 17 (games),â€™ Shepard stated on the â€˜Oklahoma Breakdownâ€™ podcast. â€œI have had two seasons where, I think, Iâ€™ve missed 8 games…so, I want to get back to playing all 17 to be able to help my teammates out…when you canâ€™t be out there with your brothers, and you see them grinding every day – itâ€™s a bummer.â€
Aside from his injury issues in the past, specifically, when it comes to concussions, heâ€™s also dealing with a new quarterback who has yet to learn the NFL and its system. Shepard compared Daniel Jones to Eli Manning and how both processes the game based on either a lack of experience or two Super Bowl wins and 15 years of experience.
â€œEli had everything down pat. He was able to tell me my route and then tell three other guys the routes they had to run. Itâ€™s a little different with a young guy who is trying to find his way â€˜cause he has a lot on his plate…Daniel is a smart guy who wants to be great. He really puts in the work every day – I tip my hat to him, first one in the building, last one to leave and I really appreciate the way he works. Heâ€™s made some strides for sure.â€
The New York Giants need their veteran WR to step up this season:
Having a quarterback like Manning who understands every single detail about any given play is huge for a receiver trying to learn a new system or needing a bit of help in the heat of battle.
At the end of the day, Jones is still developing and needs more time to refine his mental attributes but also his tangible traits. Sterling did have some nice things to say about Jones and his work ethic, particularly regarding his desire to be great and putting in the work.
If Shep can remain 100% healthy the entire year, he will help his team tremendously on offense, especially with more weapons in the return of Saquon Barkley. Hopefully, he can accomplish the goal heâ€™s set for himself.