Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard
July 26, 2018
Q: Sterling you and Evan [Engram] were sort of the last skill position guys last year in terms of so many guys that went down with injury, how does it feel having Odell [Beckham Jr.] back and Saquon [Barkley], and some other guys that can produce?
A:† I think itíll help us a lot.† You saw how when those guys went down how it affected the team and weíre just happy to have them back.† Theyíre out there running around and having a lot of fun. Iím looking forward to seeing those guys make big plays.
Q:† What did you get out of the workouts with all the guys out in California?
A:† Itís just trying to build the team camaraderie a little bit, I mean, we were all offensive guys pretty much. We had like two DBs out there, DD [Donte Deayon] and Eli [Apple], but other than that it was all offensive guys so we were just in the playbook constantly and just trying to build that connection.
Q:† Eli Manning said he was concerned about the guys in California acclimating to having to practice with shirts on.
A: I donít think itís that big of a deal, Eli was blowing that up a bit [joking].
Q:† Eli [Manning] said yesterday that he thought it was valuable with Odell [Beckham Jr.] being out that guys like you could get some run on the outside during the spring.† For a guy thatís primarily a slot guy, how helpful was it to get some, you know, some outside reps?
A:† Yeah, I mean like Iíve said before this offense youíre going to move around a lot, itís a lot of moving pieces so you have to know how to play the outside and the inside.† So yeah, it was good for me and that was kind of my main focus going into the offseason, while I was training was getting some of the outside done so it was good having some guys like Odell with me and we had a couple other outside receivers out there too.
Q:† Sterling, what is the biggest difference in this offense compared to what youíve been used to here?
A:† Iíd say the moving parts.† You know in the other offense youíre kind of stuck in one spot if youíre not the F, but in this offense you can be outside, inside, you really donít know and then we have a lot of personnel changes as well.
Q:† So what was that experience for you when you were the one healthy receiver last year?† You know, you were seeing a lot of double teams so how do you think that experience helps you?
A:† It was tough on me, but I think it helped me grow as a leader.† You kind of are thrown into that spotlight of being a leader and the guy with the most experience and I feel like itís helped me in that way, just growing as a leader and hopefully progress from there.
Q:† How will it be to have Odell out there and other guys? How much easier do you think itíll make life for you?
A:† Iíd say itíll make it a lot easier. Youíve got a guy like Odell [Beckham Jr.] whoís so explosive and can make a play at any moment and youíve got to keep your eyes on him, so the defense is going to be focused in on him and that leaves me one on one a lot of times. Thatís something you like as a receiver.
Q:† Thereís a stat out there that you were one of the best receivers in the NFL last year with catches in traffic, is there a key to that versus, you know, some other kind of catch?
A:† I think that just comes down to having heart and wanting every ball.† Thatís something you have to want to do.† Not many guys like catching in traffic, and I guess I donít mind it.
Q:† Sterling, I donít know if it sounds silly, but do you have a bit of a chip on your shoulder?† I mean youíve kind of heard that the last couple of years ďheís a slot guy, heís a slot guyĒ I mean coming into this year, what does Sterling Shepard want to prove about your game?
A:† I mean Iíve carried that chip for a long time now.† In college they said I was just a slot receiver and I proved I could play outside.† I feel like I can do the same thing this year, I mean, people are looking at me as mostly a slot guy Ė which I am Ė but its ďreceiverĒ at the end of the day. You have to know how to get open, no matter where you are on the field, so Iím looking forward to the challenge and weíll see how it goes.
Q:† Have they talked to you a lot, the team, you know, the coaches, about playing outside compared to playing the slot orÖ
A:† No, I mean itís just something you have to know.† With this offense, you have to know how to do that and I got that real quick. Iím going have to be able to play outside, Iím going have to be able to play inside, you never know.
Q:† That forces players to be more versatile, you think it also helps the offense become less predictable?
A:† Of course, I mean if you stay in the same personnel, every time then the defense only has to prepare for that one personnel. If youíve got guys moving around it definitely is a challenge for the defense and thatís what you see in this offense a lot of moving parts, like Iíve said, and a lot of different personnel.
Q:† You got an opportunity to spend some time with Odell in California, how would you Ė in your own words Ė describe what you feel like his approach and mindset will be, or is, coming into today and after the trip that he took? How you think heíll handle his enthusiasm for being on the field and trying to balance that as well?
A:† I think heís just really excited to be back on the field, I think his focus is just getting the plays down so heís able to play fast.† I mean, honestly, when I was watching him heís just so much more explosive to me and thatís me watching him before he got hurt and after.† So much more explosive, and heís just hungry and you can just see that in his game and the way that he trains.† Heís always trained super hard, but training with him this last time was a different animal out there.
Q:† Why is that?† Why do you feel like heís a different animal?
A:† I donít know, thereís just something in him, heís just hungry.† Heís ready to get out there and prove to everybody that he still has it and you guys see the Instagram videos, itís crazy and to see it firsthand, wow.
Q:† Is there anything that youíve seen that you feel like is different, or in your mind heís still working on?† Because he still hasnít done certain things.
A:† I feel like itís all mental now, the physical part is there, itís just mental for him, getting the plays down so heís able to play fast.†
Q:† How excited are you to start this training camp?† Weíve heard about all the weapons that are here now, now you guys get to work, officially.
A:† Yeah, I mean we have a lot of great names out there on the field, but ultimately it comes down to putting in the work and coming out every day and grinding, so thatís what weíre going to do.† Weíre going to put our head down and get to work.