Sterling Shepard: Giants needed ‘tough coach’ like Joe Judge

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The New York Giants may have brought in several wide receivers and other playmakers on offense this offseason, but they will still be reliant on their most tenured player, wide receiver Sterling Shepard.

Shepard, the Giants’ second-round pick out of Oklahoma in 2016, is the only player still on the team’s roster from that season, surviving three coaching changes and an overhaul of the team’s front office.

In a recent interview on the podcast The Oklahoma Breakdown, Shepard waxed on about the current state of Big Blue.

Shepard has endured several injury-marred seasons, playing 16 games just twice in his first five years with the Giants. He said his main objective for 2021 was to stay healthy.

“We actually had to write down our goals last week, my number one (goal) was to play all 17 (games),” Shepard told hosts on the podcast. “I have had two seasons where, I think, I’ve missed 8 games…so, I want to get back to playing all 17 to be able to help my teammates out.

“When you can’t be out there with your brothers, and you see them grinding every day — it’s a bummer.”

That would go a long way to helping the Giants’ offense get back on track. With the return of star running back Saquon Barkley and the additions of Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, Kyle Rudolph and John Ross to the passing attack, the Giants can finally see what third-year quarterback Daniel Jones can do.

“Daniel is a smart guy who wants to be great,” said Shepard. “He really puts in the work every day — I tip my hat to him, first one in the building, last one to leave and I really appreciate the way he works. He’s made some strides for sure.”

Shepard, who will wear his old college No. 3 this season, also said the receiving corps and Jones have been working out this offseason to gain some synergy before training camp.

“We’ve taken it upon ourselves to get together…we’ve taken three trips already,” said Shepard. “We’ll spend a week, a week and a half, with each other. We will rent a crib somewhere and all we are doing is throwing and we go workout, and then do it all over again the next day.”

Shepard also had positive things to say about the Giants’ second-year head coach, Joe Judge, who is getting the benefit of a full offseason program (we hope) this year.

“He’s a tough coach, man,” Shepard said. “He’s tough coach, but that’s what we needed. For the previous two coaches, we didn’t do any conditioning or anything like that. But I will say last year was my first year of really having a conditioning — it kind of felt like Oklahoma all over again.”