WR Sterling Shepard
July 27, 2017
Q: How much different does it feel for you than it did a year ago at this time?
A: Yes, I feel a whole lot more comfortable now. I know the system now and I know what to expect going into game day so I feel a lot more comfortable.
Q: How would you describe the feeling when you guys first get to camp?
A: Really excited. I mean coach told us after the last game to keep that feeling and I think that everyone still has that so we are excited to get back on the field and try to compete and win a championship.
Q: What does that mean, Sterling? To keep that feeling after the last game?
A: You got to move on from it, but you also have to keep it in the back of your mind. If you keep that feeling youíre not going to want it again so, you have to take the steps necessary and practice and everything to prepare for the season.
Q: What do you remember feeling that day that you do want to hold onto to use as motivation?
A: Itís a chance in a lifetime. Brandon [Marshall] is a guy that has been in the league for a while and he hasnít been to the playoffs at all. So, to be in that position, you have to take care of business. You gotta keep that in the back of your mind, like I said.
Q: Do you feel like you are a better team this year than you were at this point last year?
A: I mean we just got to camp so we have to see. I think guys did a good job working this offseason from what Iíve seen around the team, but like I said, we gotta see how we look at practice and everything.
Q: How much do you think Brandon will help you?
A: Me personally?
A: I can see him helping me a lot. A big body like him on the outside along with Odell. We got two guys on the inside that do a great job of getting open, so I feel like it could help a lot, but we have a lot of work to do.
Q: When you look at last year, there were some good numbers, you put up some good numbers as a rookie, Odell did, but the offense itself did not put up great numbers. Scoring and things like that. When you look back and think maybe what went wrong, and what can change this year to make it better?
A: I always look at protecting the ball, that is the number one thing that we can control. When you look at the top two teams that made it, they were the best at protecting the ball. So, that is a big emphasis for us this season going into camp.
Q: What about for you personally? What has been a big emphasis to taking your game to the next level?
A: I have been talking a lot about yards after catch. I feel like I could have done a better job with that last season. So, going into this season that is probably going to be one of my main focuses and that is just putting the ball in my other hand, just little stuff like that and being able to use my stiff arm.
Q: Sterling how good do you think this receiving core could be especially if you include [Evan] Engram in it?
A: It can be as good as we make it. That just comes along with us working hard at practice every day, coming in with a good attitude, getting the system down, getting in touch with Eli on all cylinders so, it is going to be as good as we make it.
Q: Speaking of Eli, what has been the biggest change in the relationship and chemistry that you have with him over the past year?
A: Just getting on the same page. That is the main thing with the QB you want to be on the same page and a lot of the times in this offense, it is based on timing. So getting that timing down is a huge thing and over time you get more comfortable with it. So, I feel like we took a big step over last camp so we need to continue to get better at that.
Q: A lot of guys talk about the need to understand that you do not pick up where you let off last year. How have you taken that lesson on board and do you think this team will be able to take that mindset and not just assume that you can pick up where you left off?
A: Itís the same in college. You go through college and you have to start off with a clean slate, going into spring practice and everything. It just carries over. I think everyone understands that we have to start with a clean slate and we canít go off of what we did last camp.
Q: Outside expectations are probably bigger for this team than they were last year, how much do you think guys feel that? Do you notice it? People expect you guys to be really good, but you guys did not make the playoffs the four years before, but now you go 11-5 people are expecting bigger things from you. As a player do you feel that, see that, hear that?
A: I mean, I guess you can feel it, but we are just going to take it little by little. We just started camp so we are going to come out and fine tune everything and not look too far ahead or anything and not listen to all of the outside stuff and keep it in house and do what we gotta do.
Q: Knowing what you know about this yearís team, I mean last year you knew very little coming in, knowing the offensive guys, knowing how your defense played last year, is there any reason this team shouldnít be a good team?
A: I see no reason for us not to be a good team. It just all comes back down to doing what we do at practice and coming to work every day with an attitude to win.