Sterling Shepard is definitely playing in a leadership-type role, according to veteran New York Giants tight end Evan Engram.
The New York Giants stunned fans when they decided to trade away star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Thus, afterward, they gave veteran wideout Sterling Shepard a new deal. A four-year, $41 million extension that solidified that the Giants see Shepard in their future plans.
Without Beckham in the receiver room for the first time in his career, Shepard is in quite a different role. He’s been the No. 1 receiver for Big Blue as the newly-acquired Golden Tate still hasn’t played a game due to suspension. Because of this new role, it’s clear the leadership presence that the University of Oklahoma product possesses.
“You can kind of sense his presence, his mentality, the way he pushes all of us each and every day and every play, and he shows up on Sundays and makes big plays for us,” tight end Evan Engram said, per Zach Braziller of the New York Post. “He’s really vocal on the sideline, vocal in the locker room, practice. He’s definitely a leader.”
Shepard has caught 20 balls for 218 yards and a touchdown through three games this year. He’s also carried the ball three times for 44 yards. He missed the team’s Week 2 loss to the Buffalo Bills due to a concussion.
Even with Tate returning this week, Shepard is looking to remain the most productive receiver in the room. Regardless, Shepard, Tate, and the others will need to be reliable targets moving forward for rookie quarterback Daniel Jones.
Big Blue (2-2) has a big game coming up this Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings at home. The Vikings have one of the better defenses the Giants will face all year. Therefore, Shepard believes the hard work and consistency aren’t even close to stopping.
“I don’t think we can exhale,” the veteran wideout said. “It’s great that we got two wins in a row, but we have to still come with it every week and prepare the way we have been preparing these last two weeks.”
The Giants and Vikings kick off this Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET.