WR Sterling Shepard
November 25, 2020
Q: Hey Sterling, [Head] Coach [Joe Judge] was talking about how the NFC East race starts right now and everybody is sort of at the same point with wins. How do you guys look at that with six games left and how exciting is that?
A: We’re just trying to keep our feet right where we are. We’re going into every week, going into every practice with attention to detail, just trying to stay present in the moment. We’re not really looking forward to anything. We’re just trying to go 1-0 every week.
Q: I think when [RB] Saquon [Barkley] went down early in the season everyone thought this run game was going to be doomed. Why do you think you guys have been able to get something going on the ground the last six weeks or so?
A: I think it was attention to detail. You know, guys have really honed down and we knew we had to get the run game going in order to get the offense going. The offensive line did a great job honing in on their assignments and what they had to do to get it going and the backs have been hitting the holes, running with their pads over them, running physical. I take my hat off to those guys.
Q: You’re one of the guys who’ve been here a while with [RB] Wayne [Gallman]. What’s it like for you to see him take advantage of this opportunity?
A: Wayne and I had a talk whenever it was his week to be the starting back and I told him straight up, ‘This is an opportunity of a lifetime. Go get it.’ I’ve always had faith in Wayne ever since they beat up on us in college, so I’ve seen him run the ball for years now and I couldn’t wait for him to get this opportunity.
Q: The last week or so, how challenging has this been for you guys and for the leaders of this team? How vocal have you been in terms of dealing with the ups and downs that you’ve had to deal with, the guys who tested positive, knowing that you all were virtual and not on the field together, then yesterday’s change? I would imagine when things are going well it’s the last thing you guys expect to have to deal with. How have you guys dealt with it?
A: Well, we kind of did expect it. We talked about it at the beginning of the season during camp, right before we came to camp, that this is the new norm and if those situations were to come up we’d have to be focused and be able to handle the Zoom calls. I’ve been proud of the guys and the way everybody’s been handling it. It hasn’t slowed us down and we have to continue to work hard during Zooms. It’s unfortunate, but that’s what we’re in right now and that’s what we have to deal with.
Q: I’m wondering what this little stretch has been like for you. It had been a while since you’d been able stay on the field and produce and do what you expect to do. What's it feel like lately for you to kind of be back in the groove?
A: It’s been great. Just trying to manage my foot throughout the week and get to the game, and just trying to be focused and help the team in any way I can. That's the type of player I am and that’s what I’ll continue to be.
Q: Were you worried about the injuries as they kept piling up or was it something you thought that it was only a matter of time before you got back out there?
A: That’s this game, it’s NFL football. Stuff happens like that, so you've just got to take it for what it is and keep on moving. That's what I’ll keep on doing, keep moving and keep pushing.
Q: On the other side of the ball, I’m sure you’ve gone against [CB] Darnay Holmes a lot in practice and during training camp. I’m curious what you’ve seen out of a rookie like that who’s been thrown into the fire and knowing veteran quarterbacks are going to go after a rookie like that.
A: Yeah, he knows that. But I love Darnay and his fight, that's what I’ve always said about Darnay. You can beat him one play, but he’s going to come back at you. Those are the type of guys that I love to play with and that everybody in the locker room wants to play with.
Q: You guys have a lot of younger players who haven’t played meaningful games at the end of November and into December the past couple of years. How important is it just for progress and for those guys to play in games that mean something in the standing, and what can they really learn from it going forward?
A: Yeah, I mean that’s for us older guys and guys that have come in here who have played in those important games to stress to the younger guys how important it is and how fortunate we are to be in this situation because we’ve all been on the other side of that. Having everybody just focus in on their keys and being able to execute in this important time.