The New York Giants have been surviving without wide receiver Sterling Shepard the past few weeks, as he suffered a turf toe injury against the Chicago Bears in week 2. Some believed he could return against the Washington Football Team in week 6, but he was ultimately ruled out with the lingering injury.
The Giants have struggled in his absence, averaging a putrid 187.5 yards passing per game. That ranks 30th in the NFL, above just the New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens. Their inability to throw downfield and keep the offense on the field has affected their points per game as well, as they rank 31st in the league with 16.8.
Thankfully for Big Blue, Shepard could return in week seven against the Philadelphia Eagles, and with the NFC East wide open for the taking, gaining back any significant talent is a big deal.
â€œI think weâ€™re a little bit closer than we were last week. Obviously, he didnâ€™t make it to the game,â€ Joe Judge stated on Monday. â€œHe worked with the trainers today. Iâ€™m going a lot right now off the information theyâ€™ve given me from todayâ€™s workout. We were in staff meetings when he was out there on the field doing some of his rehab stuff.
The New York Giants need to do what’s best for the offense:
Staying cautious with Shepard is probably the best course of action, as re-injuring the toe could force him out for another few weeks. However, this would be a good time to test his recovery, as they have a bye week coming up in two weeks and could use that in conjunction to ensure his availability afterward. Especially since they will face off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 8, which represents a far stronger team than the Eagles or any of the divisional opponents.
â€œBeing a walkthrough week for us, weâ€™ll have to go really based on what the trainers tell us. Weâ€™ll have to go ahead and look at him. Weâ€™ll see. This could go up to a pregame workout. Weâ€™re not sure. Weâ€™ll see where heâ€™s at throughout the week.â€
In 2019, Shep accounted for 576 yards and three touchdowns in just 10 games, playing in only 56% of offensive snaps. He dealt with concussions last year, which forced him out for six contests and severely limited his production. Sterling has been unable to string together some momentum and positive progress, and returning from this injury and gathering some momentum could go a long way in his development with Daniel Jones. In addition, he has very minimal reps in the new scheme, and every snap counts toward his influence on offense.