New York Giants could receive an offensive boost on Thursday against Eagles

New York Giants, Sterling Shepard

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.

“I think we’re a little bit closer than we were last week. Obviously, he didn’t make it to the game,” Joe Judge stated on Monday. “He worked with the trainers today. I’m going a lot right now off the information they’ve given me from today’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.

“Being a walkthrough week for us, we’ll have to go really based on what the trainers tell us. We’ll have to go ahead and look at him. We’ll see. This could go up to a pregame workout. We’re not sure. We’ll see where he’s at throughout the week.”

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.

New York Giants: Sterling Shepard injury update, could miss more time

New York Giants, Austin Mack, Sterling Shepard

The New York Giants have struggled to get their passing game going through five weeks, and a big part of that is due to the absence of Sterling Shepard. As their top slot option and security blanket for Daniel Jones, losing him has been catastrophic.

However, even though two weeks when Shepard was present, he didn’t make a significant impact. He only tallied 76 yards and eight receptions against Pittsburgh and Chicago before suffering a turf toe injury that has kept him out since.

The Giants inevitably put him on injured reserve, and he is likely to miss the week six contest against the Washington Football Team as the injury lingers.

The Giants have looked Darius Slayton‘s way more than not in recent weeks due to Sterling’s absence, as veteran pass-catcher Golden Tate hasn’t managed to get anything going.

Management elected to elevate Austin Mack from the practice squad and waive Damion Ratley after a costly offensive passing interference call against Dallas in week five.

Mack, who has given defensive backs trouble all season long and during training camp, will finally get his chance to suit up and prove his worth in an NFL game.

As for Shepard, turf toe can be a multiple week injury, as it has been. I don’t expect him to play until week seven against the Philadelphia Eagles, which will be an essential division game, especially if they overcome Washington in week six.

What does Sterling Shepard bring to the New York Giants’ offense?

Even though Shepard didn’t make a significant impact in the receiving game through two weeks, his run blocking is one of the best in the NFL. His ability to seal the outside matches perfectly with Jason Garrett outside zone blocking scheme.

However, consistency and continuity in the new offense are essential for players like Shep, who couldn’t develop a rhythm. Remaining healthy is essential for the 27-year-old receiver, and he has been unfortunately injury prone the past few seasons, notably with concussions.

New York Giants: Sterling Shepard to return to practice this week

New York Giants, Sterling Shepard

The New York Giants started the season with an 0-5 record but they’ll soon have a key player back to rejoin the hunt for a first win. That player is wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who went down with a turf toe injury during the team’s loss to the Chicago Bears. It was a stroke of bad luck in a game that had plenty of that for the Giants, as they also lost Saquon Barkley for the season in the very same game.

However, the forecast for Shepard fortunately shows a faster turnaround than Barkley will have. After the missed time, he’s set to get back to practice this week according to a report from Jordan Raanan.

It doesn’t, however, look like Shepard will make his return on Sunday against Washington. The team seems more likely to take a conservative approach with the injury and not rush Shepard back into action.

The impact of Sterling Shepard’s return

When Shepard does return, it will mean another weapon is available for Daniel Jones. Jones could use the help, as although his chemistry with Darius Slayton aided the Giants against the Cowboys, he only has two passing touchdowns overall. To make matters worse for the second year QB, he already has five interceptions and had a key fumble against Dallas.

The Giants are committed to Daniel Jones as their quarterback, but they were also committed to Eli Manning only weeks before Jones replaced him. Jones doesn’t have limitless job security, and so having a full arsenal of weapons in the receiving game will be important for him in his fight to deter the Giants from drafting Trevor Lawrence if they get the chance.

Shepard had 6 receptions for 47 yards in the season opener against the Steelers. Not the greatest numbers, but right now, the Giants need all the help they can get when it comes to offense. Especially when the performance of the passing game this season has a big role to play in the quarterback debates of the future.

New York Giants place WR Sterling Shepard on IR, what now?

New York Giants receiver, Sterling Shepard.

The injury bug just keeps getting worse for the New York Giants, as they lost both Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard last Sunday against the Chicago Bears.

Barkley’s injury is much more severe, having torn his ACL and partially his meniscus. Unfortunately, he will require surgery and miss the entire 2020 season. As for Sterling Shepard, the Giants placed him on injured reserve Wednesday morning, which means he cannot return for a minimum of three games.

After getting his foot stuck underneath of him on a tackle attempt against the Bears, Shep came up gimpy and ultimately was unable to return. He was diagnosed with turf toe, which can be a multiple week injury. Essentially, turf toe is the sprain of the main joints in the big toe. It normally occurs when the toe is forcibly bent up into hyperextension, or in Shepard‘s case, when he got his toes stuck on the flat ground. Evidently, it doesn’t have much to do with playing in turf.

Sterling’s injury thins out the wide receiver corps, which will now be led by Darius Slayton and Golden Tate. I anticipate CJ Board and Damian Ratley will receive more reps, but it will limit Daniel Jones’s weaponry on an everyday basis. I wouldn’t be surprised if Big Blue went out and re-signed either Corey Coleman or Alex Bachman, two players who have a better understanding of the playbook and can contribute if need be.

Luckily, the Giants face off against a severely injured San Francisco 49ers team next week, which is a very winnable game. Hopefully, Shep can return in due time, but his injury concerns only increase, as he missed multiple contests with concussion symptoms last year.

New York Giants: Recapping Today’s Practice 8/25

New York Giants, Austin Mack, Sterling Shepard

The New York Giants had another late practice session tonight, wrapping up well after seven p.m. Practice was halted for a while too, as lightning was striking in the surrounding area. Because of this, media coverage was limited, but they were able to drop some tidbits on today’s practice session.

Injury update

Darius Slayton returned to practice today. Jabrill Peppers and Shane Lemieux also participated after leaving practice early on Thursday.

Ryan Connelly, Nate Ebner, Spencer Pulley, and Eli Penny did not participate in practice today. They all worked on the side with the training staff (via Art Stapleton).

Highlights

There was finally a fight at Giants practice today. Lorenzo Carter and Evan Engram got into a scrum. Engram’s helmet was thrown off his head. Head coach Joe Judge determined that Carter was in the wrong, so he sent him for a lap.

Later on, Sterling Shepard scored a nice touchdown reception with James Bradberry in coverage. Shepard celebrated to get back at the defense, jumping into the arms of Nick Gates. Later on, Shepard dropped a potential touchdown pass in a two-minute drill, and the defense got after him for that.

Giants’ practice is intensifying as we inch closer to the regular season. With no preseason due COVID-19, Joe Judge is making sure to work his players hard to prepare for the season. Judge even said today that the team is considering having Daniel Jones take off his no-hitting red jersey to get him acclimated to the hits of football (via Matt Lombardo).

The Giants wrapped up another intense practice today, as Joe Judge continues to set the tone for his new team. With less than three weeks left until the Giants’ first regular-season game, do not expect to see the Giants take their foot off the pedal anytime soon.

New York Giants: Sterling Shepard A Top Name In Training Camp

New York Giants, Sterling Shepard

Last season was rough for New York Giants receiver Sterling Shepard. It was the first year that Shepard was playing on a big new deal. He was supposed to be the main player to step in for Odell Beckham Jr., who the team traded before Shepard’s new contract. And he was supposed to be the main weapon for Eli Manning and then, after the change happened at the position, Daniel Jones.

In reality, Shepard had a much tougher time. He missed a lot of the year with concussions. The first one didn’t raise too many eyebrows. Concussions happen in a rough sport like football, after all. But when Shepard picked up another concussion soon after his return, there was more concern from the fans.

There was even talk about whether or not Shepard should retire. But maybe it’s time to dismiss all that talk. Based on the reports coming out of Giants training camp, Shepard is one of the top players the offense has right now.

Sterling Shepard a hard cover during training camp

The Giants were back in pads at training camp on Monday and Shepard was one of the standout performers. In fact, he earned the title of toughest cover from the team website’s report on the day’s activities during camp.

Sterling Shepard continues to be the toughest cover amongst the wide receivers at camp. He seems to be even shiftier than we’ve seen him in prior seasons. Even in small spaces, he is creating a lot of separation. In a non-contact tackling simulation drill, he put a move on a defensive back and went past him completely untouched.

This comes during a time when the status of Darius Slayton, the team leader in receiving yards and touchdowns from last season, is unknown. Slayton didn’t practice on Monday. Head coach Joe Judge aid that the trainers are dealing with the player but didn’t give much more than that.

If there’s going to be injury problems with Slayton going into the start of the season, which is under a month away, a healthy Shepard would be a big help to the Giants in filling the missed production.

Shepard has never had a 1,000 yard season. He had a career low in yards during the last season, but that’s understandable given the amount of time he missed. The year prior to his concussions, he had a more admirable 872 yards.

Based on his performance in camp, maybe it’s not too much of a stretch to predict Shepard having his first 1,000 yard year in 2020 while bouncing back from the lows of last year?

New York Giants: The Media’s Gets Strong First Impressions Of Joe Judge’s First Padded Practice

New York Giants, Joe Judge

The New York Giants put on the pads today. Joe Judge’s squad had their first padded practice of the 2020 season today as the media watched from the sidelines. There were a number of standout plays and players, like this incredible catch by C.J. Board:

Other players impressed the media today too, like Colt McCoy, Darnay Holmes, and Corey Coleman. But what was the first impression of new head coach Joe Judge? So far the reviews have all been quite positive.

What Is The Media Saying About Joe Judge’s First Padded Practice?

After the Giants wrapped up today’s practice, the media took to Twitter to post highlights and their initial reactions. The members of the media showed off highlights from players like C.J. Board, Daniel Jones, and others. They also gave their first impressions on Joe Judge and his practice style.

Jordan Raanan of ESPN described Judge’s practice as “fast-paced” and “efficient.” He noted that there is “lots of stuff going on at the same time in different areas of the field.” Raanan also mentioned that ball security has been a priority at Giants’ practice. That can be seen as Judge gives some pointers to a player in the video below:

Raanan also described the practice environment as “intense” while pointing out that coaches were yelling and screaming non-stop with plenty of colorful language. Art Stapleton of USA Today and other sites also sounded impressed with Judge’s first padded practice. He noted that there was very little wasted time and energy. Art also agreed with Raanan, describing the practice as “high intensity.”

One interesting aspect of Judge’s practice is an emphasis on discipline and conditioning. The Giants ran sprints from sideline to sideline post-practice. Players and coaches were required to run laps after miscues or penalties. Joe Judge explained (per Jordan Raanan), “There are consequences for making mistakes.” Sterling Shepard has bought in to the new coach’s culture, and hopes the rest of his teammates do as well:

“I think it’s going to take everybody buying in. if we’re going to be the team we want to be, we have to buy into what Judge has in store for us. Don’t make mistakes. That’s how to get out of it.” – Sterling Shepard on coaches and players running laps via Matt Lombardo

So far, Joe Judge has delivered on every promise he made in his introductory press conference months ago. Judge is instilling a new, tough culture and proving to be a “teacher,” just as he promised. Time will tell if Judge’s new culture and practice routine will lead to more wins for the Giants, but so far, everything has been positive for the rookie head coach.

New York Giants: Two most underrated players on both sides of the ball

New York Giants, Dalvin Tomlinson

While some might rank the New York Giants’ defense at the bottom of the barrel, they have several players that constitute as playmakers. Ranging from Jabrill Peppers to Leonard Williams, you might think of the more pricey options and athletic players as the team’s best. However, the underrated players also make a significant impact, and on both sides of the ball, the Giants have a few guys who fly under the radar in production and efficiency.

Here are two New York Giants players that are criminally underrated:

1.) Dalvin Tomlinson

Tomlinson is one of the most exciting players for the Giants, but you might not see it on an everyday basis. He’s aggressive in the trenches and stops the run at an extremely high level.

Having increased his production over three seasons in the NFL, Tomlinson has never missed a game. In 2019, he racked up 3.5 sacks, 49 combined tackles, and nine quarterback hits. Some might say he is more influential than Leonard Williams, who the Giants hit with the franchise tag this off-season. Lining him up over center is where he dominates, utilizing his strong hands and arm extensions to push centers into the backfield. Tomlinson wreaks havoc at the line of scrimmage.

Tomlinson has only gotten better with technique and fundamentals over time. In addition, he is fantastic at drawing double teams. He rarely gets pushed off balance and holds his ground well, drawing in multiple blocks which opens up opportunities for pass rushers. He’s extremely efficient in the 3-technique. Of course, there are plenty of negatives to his game, but the positives outweigh them by a fair margin. He is easily one of the most underrated players on the Giants and deserves an extension come next season.

New York Giants: Sterling Shepard, Leonard Williams, and Saquon Barkley Speak With Media

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

Training camp is here for the New York Giants and with that comes the first official player interviews of the 2020 NFL season. New head coach Joe Judge was the first to speak with the media, doing so on Wednesday. You can read those quotes here.

Yesterday, Daniel Jones, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Blake Martinez spoke with the media. Today, it was Sterling Shepard, Leonard Williams, and Saquon Barkley’s turns to speak. The three players each completed ten-minute interviews via Zoom today. Here are the highlights:

Sterling Shepard:

Sterling Shepard is the longest-tenured player on the New York Giants’ roster. Sterling was drafted by the Giants in 2016 and has played a prominent role in the team’s offense ever since. Could 2020 be the year the Shepard gets himself a Captain’s Badge? Shepard said he “be happy to wear that badge and take that role” if the team votes him a captain but whether he gets it or not, he will “find a way to lead” in “whichever role” they have him in.

“(I will) just set a good example for the young guys and kind of teach them about some of the different rivalries that we have and how important those games are to the New York Giants as an organization.” – Sterling Shepard via Giants.com

Shepard also expressed excitement for the Giants’ new offensive scheme, coached by Jason Garrett. Sterling noted that “it’s an offense that utilizes everyone’s skill set.” The fifth-year slot receiver also gave some insight into Joe Judge’s virtual offseason program: “When we were going through the OTA period on the Zoom calls, the coaches would have some trivia questions for us, so we did this Kahoot! challenge to kind of get guys going and understanding the history of the organization.”

Saquon Barkley:

Superstar running back Saquon Barkley spoke with the media today and gave some insight to his offseason. Barkley considers the Giants’ current regime and roster to be “a fresh new start,” explaining that this is a team of young players who “are learning every single day, on the offensive side, and on the defensive side. Learning a new scheme and system and trying to focus on the little things to get better every single day.”

Saquon made it clear that head coach Joe Judge is instilling a new culture for the Giants:

“The Giants are known for being tough, physical and doing the little things right. That’s something that coach Judge and all the coaches have made a focal point for us in the short time that we have been here. That’s what we try to attack every single day and try to get better every single day.” – Saquon Barkley via Giants.com

Barkley also discussed his teammate and quarterback, Daniel Jones, stating that he is “definitely excited for DJ.” Barkley said that they have grown closer and that they have been hanging out and working together.

Certainly, the most exciting part of Saquon Barkley’s media session came when he discussed his expectations for himself in the upcoming season. Barkley is only focused on improving, despite being one of the best running backs in the league already:

“What I want to seem from myself is just growth,” he said. “I feel like I have been saying this answer so much in my first two years. I’m really focused on trying to get better in every area of my game. I feel like I have so much more room to continue to grow and there is so much I can continue to add to my game. I would say some big focal points are pass pro(tection), in between the tackles, outside the tackles, catching the ball, ball security. Every single day try to focus and try to get better in every area of my game. I am a big stickler when it comes to stuff like that. Definitely when our coaches sat down, they really have us focused on the details and all the little things matter. That’s the focus and where I want to improve my game, which I guess you could say is everything.” – Saquon Barkley via Giants.com

Leonard Williams:

The Giants’ newly acquired defensive lineman, Leonard Williams, also spoke to the media today. Williams was acquired in the middle of the 2019 season via trade in what has been a controversial and polarizing move amongst the fanbase. The Giants placed the franchise tag on Leonard Williams this offseason after the two sides failed to come to an agreement on a long-term deal.

Williams discussed this, saying he thinks “it’s always in the player’s interest to get a long-term deal, but that’s something that worked itself out between my agents and the organization.” Leonard said he is not disappointed that there was no deal agreed upon, he is simply “looking at it as an opportunity.”

But Williams also made it clear that he is ” just happy to be here, play with this team again, and learn about the guys that I’ve been with since last year.”

The media asked Leonard Williams about his injury. The disruptive defensive lineman showed up to training camp with a hamstring injury and was placed on the non-football injury list. When asked about it, here is what Leonard Williams had to say:

We can’t really talk about injuries. If somebody wants to get more information on that, you might have to bring it up with Coach (Joe) Judge or someone else on the team. I’m definitely making strides on it and doing the best that I can to get out there with my teammates. – Leonard Williams via Giants.com

When asked about learning that new defensive scheme that Saquon Barkley mentioned earlier, Leonard Williams referred to new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham as a “genius.” Williams said he loves the new scheme and that he loves working with the team’s new defensive line coach, Sean Spencer.

Overall, the Giants’ three young stars sound excited about the upcoming 2020 NFL season. The players are optimistic about their new coaching staff and seem focused on improving after a disappointing 2019 season.

New York Giants: 3 play-makers who could have great 2020 season’s

New York Giants, Sterling Shepard, Xavier McKinney, Evan Engram

Training camp is underway for the New York Giants and the veterans have taken the football field. With plenty of opt-outs across the league still expected, the Giants have only lost two players thus far –Nate Solder and Da’Mari Scott.

The current roster is a product of a complete overhaul, institutionalized by general manager Dave Gettleman. New head coach Joe Judge has certainly made his impact known early on in his career with the Giants, spending the fourth overall pick on a tackle, Andrew Thomas. Prior to this off-season, Gettleman had never spent a first-round selection let alone a top-five pick on an offensive lineman.

The Giants have struggled in recent years to put any sort of success together. Offensively in 2019, they ranked 18th of 32 in points for and 30th of 32 in points against. They allowed nearly 30 points per game, a number that must decrease moving forward.

Since both sides of the ball need to witness vast improvements, let’s take a look at some of the Giants’ playmakers and what to expect from them in 2020.

Three New York Giants players who could have big 2020 seasons:

1.) Jabrill Peppers

When the Giants originally traded Odell Beckham Jr., they didn’t anticipate Jabrill Peppers becoming a focal point on defense. Since joining Big Blue, he has left his mark.

Despite missing five games in 2019 with an injured hip, Peppers posted very similar stats to his 2018 campaign.

For comparison sake:

2018: 79 combined tackles, five tackles for a loss, four quarterback hits, 1.0 sacks, three fumble recoveries, five passes defended, 1 INT

2019: 76 combined tackles, five tackles for a loss, two quarterback hits, three forced fumbles, five passes defended, one INT, one TD

As you can see, he had a very similar year but posted three additional turnovers on defense. He took a significant step forward at strong safety with the Giants, and having leaned out and added more muscle mass, he looks to be in perfect shape. Considering his development last year, I fully expect him to take a step forward and produce at a high-level.