WR Sterling Shepard -- June 4, 2019
Q: How do you feel about the increased reps? Do you feel your importance to this team has risen since the departure of Odell Beckham Jr.?
A: “Yeah, I think that’s just naturally what’s going to happen. He was such a big part of this offense. I guess I’m the next one up in line. We also have a lot of great other guys that can make plays as well. (WR) Golden Tate has been looking great out there at practice. (WR) Cody Latimer had some great plays today too.”
Q: Have you had to change your preparation at all coming into this year given your expanded role, or maybe change your thought process coming into this year?
A: “No, not at all. I don’t let pressure get to me too much. I feel like last season with Odell going out for those last five games kind of prepared me for what I was going to get into. The season before that as well with him going down with an ankle injury. I feel like it prepared me for this moment.”
Q: How beneficial is it to have a coach like (Giants WR coach) Tyke Tolbert to help you through the process?
A: “He’s coached a lot of great players and has been around the game for a long time. He knows what he’s talking about, and it’s great to just have a guy like that in your corner to learn from.”
Q: Are you being asked to run different kinds of routes or different types of roles within the offense than you were in the past?
A: “No, this is the type of offense that you have to be able to run every route in the book, no matter where you are – because you can line up wherever. It’s things that I’ve been doing.”
Q: What did you think about the rookie quarterback’s (Daniel Jones) wheels today?
A: “Oh man, he pulled that thing and kicked the knees up, it was good (laughter). I knew we were going to get the defense on that, but yeah, he looked great running.”
Q: Did you know he had that kind of speed?
A: “Yeah, I’ve heard a little bit about him in college, and I’ve seen some tape on him running. He crossed somebody up – I forgot which team it was in college – but he was carving them up pretty good on his feet.”
Q: Some people have said you and Golden Tate have very similar skillsets. Do you see that at all? Or, do you feel like it’s more unpredictable for the defense?
A: “Yeah exactly, you can move us around anywhere on the field. We’re just natural playmakers. Wherever you put us, we’re going to find a way to get open, and find a way to get the ball, and make things happen after the catch. That’s what he’s been great at his whole career – making things happen after the catch. I don’t think that’s going to stop now.”
Q: (S) Jabrill Peppers has added a little bit of trash talk to the practice field. He said you give it back to him better than most people. What has he added in that element? Why is that apart of practice?
A: “I think it’s important for us to go back and forth with each other. That’s what’s going to happen on gameday and on the field. Then, it just brings out the competitive edge of everyone. We go at it a lot, and I’m not one to back down or shy away from trash talk (laughter). We go at it, but I think it’s all great for the team.”
Q: You talked about the injuries Odell Beckham Jr. sustained the last couple seasons. Does that make it less strange him not being here now since you’ve had times where he wasn’t here? Or, is it still a sense of weirdness?
A: “Yeah, it’s still a little weird, it’s an adjustment, but I’m focused on the guys we have here now. That’s always going to be my brother until the end of this. I’m just focused on the guys that we have now. Like I said earlier, I feel like it prepared me for on the field, and just not having him out there.”
Q: Where does the weirdness come from?
A: “Just his presence. He’s a great guy, he’s loved around this facility. Just his presence, I guess.”
Q: Did you get points deducted for that fumble?
A: “I stepped out of bounds before he hit it out, so it doesn’t count.”
Q: Do you think Jabrill is going to add a lot to the defense with his ability to play three different positions?
A: “Yeah, I saw him out there at corner last week doing one on ones. He looks great out there too. I think his versatility is great for the team and just the energy he brings. He brings a lot of energy on the field and that’s been since day one. He was a new guy, so having him bring that energy is great for us.”
Q: How important is that to make these things fun?
A: “It is serious work, but at the end of the day, it is football. Something that we have been doing since we were five or six years old. It always been a fun game, so why change that now? We can make it fun out here but we have to get the work that we need to get done, done. I think everybody senses that.”
Q: Did you do off-season throwing with Eli, I know he was at Ole Miss?
A: “It wasn’t at Ole Miss. We came back to Jersey a little bit early and got a few throwing sessions in.”
Q: A lot has been made about his focus this offseason and him being in the best shape of his life, have you noticed anything different from the first three off-seasons or same guy?
A: “Yeah, he’s the same guy but I think he’s just upped it a little bit more. I saw him after every single throwing session, he was doing a conditioning session without us. I’ve always seen him do conditioning, but afterwards he was getting after it, that was a little different from what I saw previous years.”
Q: A lot has been said about the talented group of young defensive backs. As a receiving corps, are you guys enjoying testing them and pushing them to see exactly what they’ve got?
A: “Of course. We want to find out the guys that are going to be able to ball on Sundays for us. We’re not going to let up on them as receivers in any way. We’ve got to get our work done. Like I said, we want to see the guys that are going to be able to help us out as a team on Sundays.”
Q: What do you think when you see so many young guys on defense? Six or seven key guys are going to be first- or second-year guys.
A: “I like it, it’s great for the future. You are talking about guys that are ballers, they are not just average guys. I know they haven’t had as much experience as other guys, but the way they are looking, it’s going to be great for us.”