WR Sterling Shepard -- September 2, 2019
Q: Are you excited to get the offense on the field in an actual game?
A: Yeah, weíve been grinding and going against each other so long, itís going to feel good to go against somebody else.
Q: You havenít been under real action with the quarterback and running back. Will it take a little while to put everyone together in a game situation?
A: I think, whether you have guys playing in the preseason, itís a little different in the regular season, so weíll get adjusted quickly. Itís been looking good at practice, so I feel like what you do at practice translates well to the field if youíre doing things the right way.
Q: Are you ready to embrace the number one receiver spot now?
A: Yeah, and Iíve said it before, I have guys that I can go to. Weíve got a lot of guys in the room who can make plays, so that makes you a little bit more comfortable, but Iím ready for the opportunity. Iím ready to help the team out.
Q: Is this team closer than it was last year? Coach Shurmur said it felt more like a ďteamĒ this year.
A: Without a doubt. I think thatís the thing that we wanted to accomplish over the offseason, is getting guys with great character. You look around the locker room and weíve just got a group of great guys at the end of the day.
Q: What makes you feel like the team is closer? Anything specific?
A: I canít say anything specific, itís just the feel. You know that if youíve been in a locker room before, you can feel when a team is very close. Like I said, I canít be too specific with it, but itís just a feeling, and it feels great.
Q: Did the ping-pong tournament help bring guys together?
A: Yeah, I got knocked out pretty quick, but it has. I donít think anybodyís finished yet--Iím looking at the board.
Q: Do you guys get together when people play?
A: Yeah, we get together. We huddle around the table, give it a little amped up feel.
Q: Whoís the favorite?
A: I think heís gone now, but Ryan (Anderson) was, and then Golden Tate is probably the best, hands down.
Q: Who would have won between Ryan and Golden?
A: I donít know because they go back and forth all the time, it wouldíve been a shootout. We would have definitely hyped that one up.
Q: Did you practice without the splint today?
A: Yeah, I havenít worn the splint in I think about a week and a half, two weeks.
Q: How happy were you to finally drop the splint?
A: I was pretty happy. Itís hard to grip a ball with the splint, so I just practiced on that, and then getting my strength back in my thumb, so itís been feeling great.
Q: Youíve broken thumbs or fingers before? Do you know what fully healed feels like?
A: Yes. To be honest, this feels a lot better than the past few times that Iíve broken it. This is probably one of the best breaks that Iíve experienced (laughter).
Q: When you look at your offenseóyou wonít have Golden (Tate III) early this year, Odellís (Beckham Jr.) not here anymoreóhow much more do you need Evan (Engram) to be that big play receiver, and help out in that regard?
A:† I just need Evan to be Evan. If you look at the back five games that he played last season, he played lights out, and thatís what heís going to bring to the table. Heís a matchup nightmare, and Iíve said that since day one since Iíve seen him. The man looks like a wide receiver, he runs like a wide receiver, with a tight endís body. Like I said, heís a matchup nightmare, so just go out and be himself.
Q: For people outside the organization, expectations for the team are lower. Does that give you guys a chip on your shoulder at all?
A: Weíre not too big on listening to the outside noise. We know what we have as a team, and weíre going to put our best foot forward every week. Weíre going to prepare the way weíre supposed to prepare, and Iím not listening to the outside noise.