The New York Giants find themselves in dire need of a spark on offense coming off of an embarrassing 24-3 loss against the Seattle Seahawks. The Giants’ offense has been downright awful throughout the first four weeks of the season, accumulating just five touchdowns and 1,008 total offensive yards of which only 771 came from passing.
One player who has the potential to provide that much-needed boost is veteran wide receiver Sterling Shepard. Despite his limited playing time and low production thus far, Shepard has displayed his talent in the past and could be a vital component in turning around the Giants’ lackluster offense.
Can Sterling Shepard stay healthy to make an impact?
Injuries have plagued Shepard throughout his career, hampering his ability on the field. However, his presence in the locker room and his leadership qualities have made him an unofficial captain and a motivator for the team. It is important to note that his lack of availability has been his issue rather than his production throughout the years.
Before suffering an ACL tear in Week 3 of the 2022 season, Shepard seemed poised for a big year with 13 catches for 154 yards and a touchdown in just three games. His 65-yard touchdown against the Tennessee Titans in Week 1 helped the Giants secure a season-opening victory — a feat they hadn’t achieved in six years.
Shepard’s last fully healthy season was in 2018, where he amassed 66 catches for 872 yards and four touchdowns. Although he hasn’t been able to replicate these numbers due to injuries, his contributions to the Giants’ offense cannot be underestimated. Shepard’s versatility and ability to make clutch plays have made him a valuable asset when he is on the field.
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A secondary role could benefit Shepard
With new additions to the Giants’ offense, Shepard no longer needs to shoulder the burden of being the primary receiver. This change should help alleviate some of the pressure on his health. The presence of other talented receivers will create opportunities for Shepard to exploit mismatches and make a significant impact on the field.
Despite Shepard’s limited opportunities, there have been glimpses of his brilliance. His remarkable route-running ability and chemistry with quarterback Daniel Jones have been evident. Shepard’s ability to create separation and find open spaces on the field makes him a reliable target, especially in critical situations.
There have been concerns about whether or not constant injuries have caused wear and tear on Shepard, but his impressive fake-out move against rookie cornerback Tre Hawkins III during the offseason helped shut down some of those concerns, showing that he does still have some juice left in his tank.
Since returning from injury, however, Shepard’s involvement in the Giants’ offense has been minimal. He has only been on the field for a mere 31 snaps and has been limited to just two receptions for 10 yards in the first four weeks of the season. This underutilization raises questions about whether or not the Giants are utilizing one of their most talented receivers effectively.
Shepard is seemingly frustrated with the Giants
Shepard’s frustration with his limited usage has become evident. Head Coach Brian Daboll acknowledged this and expressed his intention to increase Shepard’s playing time against the Miami Dolphins in Week 5. He also revealed that the team had devised specific personnel packages to involve Shepard, but they were not effectively implemented during game situations.
As Big Blue strives to inject life into their offense, Shepard possesses the potential to be a game-changer. With the coaching staff recognizing the need to involve Shepard more, it is only a matter of time before he contributes significantly on the field. Giants fans eagerly await his return to full form and the impact he can bring to the team’s struggling offense.