Wide Receiver Sterling Shepard
July 27, 2021
Q: I know you have mentioned before about the conditioning with [Head Coach] Joe [Judge] and that’s a big part of what he brings to the table and probably more to the degree than you had in the past. How much do guys kind of whine and complain about it for lack of a better term or is it just something that you kind of accept even though it’s kind of rare at this level?
A: I mean, I think that’s on the older guys on the team to get everybody to embrace it and kind of buy into it. It’s something that I know not many teams do around the league, but it’s something that a lot of the guys here have bought into and we see the benefits from it. We would get in the fourth quarter and see the other team gasping for air and we were doing fine. Whenever you see the outcome like that, it’s reassuring that everything is working. Just buying into it is the main thing.
Q: We know that two years ago you made a pretty big sacrifice moving outside to let Golden Tate go into the slot. When I look at this receiving corps, it seems like the slot is yours again. What is it you like best about the slot? Why do you fit there? And is that kind of your expectation to be back there where you had your best years?
A: I think I’ll be bouncing around a lot of different positions, kind of like I did at the end of the season last year. I love the slot. It’s where I’m super comfortable. I just like the space you have to be able to go all the way across the field, come back out, do the short intermediate routes to try and run in. But also, I can go outside as well. There’s some things that I love to do outside, as well. I’m looking forward to just bouncing around and being wherever the coaches see me fitting best.
Q: How should [Wide Receiver] Kenny Golladay and [Tight End] Kyle Rudolph help guys like you and [Wide Receiver] Darius Slayton maybe get different types of coverages?
A: Just drawing more attention. The more guys that we have helping make plays and making big things happen, the defense is going to have to pay attention to them. It frees guys up and hopefully we can do the same for them, draw some attention and free those guys up. Playmakers are what we need and that’s what I think we’ve addressed over the offseason.
Q: Last year was a completely new start, new coach, new players on the team, new system, a new culture, new vibes and everything. Does this year feel like on Day One that it’s new or does it feel like a carryover from that year?
A: It’s new in the aspect that you have new guys on the team and kind of unfamiliar faces, but we were able for OTAs to kind of build a relationship with those new guys. But as far as the system, yeah, it’s pretty much the same thing. Just some new stuff implemented. But it always feels good going into the second year of a system just because you have a baseline and kind of know what to expect out of the system.
Q: Do you have to let the new guys know what’s expected of you that you learned from last year in terms of Joe Judge’s expectations and the culture and things like that?
A: Yeah, that’s one of the big things that we talked about over OTAs was just getting those guys acclimated and showing them what our team was all about and kind of some of the standards that we work on.
Q: Real quick, if I could, what did you think of your Marvel comics likeness?
A: Oh, it was dope. They actually sent me a photo of it about a couple weeks back and it was pretty cool.
Q: In regards to COVID and the vaccinations, when you look around, you’ve been around today, how inhibiting is it for guys if they’re unvaccinated? Do you think by seeing that and seeing what they have to kind of go through compared to the people who are vaccinated, do you envision that making those guys that are unvaccinated going and getting it?
A: I mean everybody is able to make the decision for themselves. I think if guys are stuck on not getting it, then they’re not going to get it and go through all the protocols. Me personally, that’s all I can speak for is myself, I got vaccinated just for my reasons – for my family and other reasons. That’s all I can go off is why I got vaccinated and I want to be here for my teammates, not to say that they’re not. I have my reasons and they may have their reasons for not being vaccinated, so that’s all I can do is speak for myself on that.
Q: Is it strange though that some guys basically have to wear masks around the building and other guys don’t have to and you kind of notice right away, it’s like a sign saying, ‘I’m unvaccinated’?
A: I mean, the weird part for me is I see people with masks and I’m like, ‘oh, I forgot my mask.’ I’m going back to last year and I’m like, ‘oh, I’m vaccinated I don’t have to wear it.’ So, that’s the only weird part for me. It’s not too weird. We’ve had a year of everybody wearing masks, it’s kind of become normal in some way.