Giants: Shepard Remains Confident Despite Target-less Game, Eli Apologizes
In the New York Giants 27-13 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, rookie wide receiver Sterling Shepard touched the ball just one time. That one touch, was on an end-around resulting in a 22-yard run.
Shepard, second on the team with 44 receptions this season, was not even targeted in the game by quarterback Eli Manning. A shocking occurrence when you see how Shepard has developed into a playmaker for the Giants in his first NFL season.
Manning knows how important it is for the Shepard to be involved in the offense. Earlier this week, the veteran quarterback apologized to his young receiver in the teams’ weight room.
The Giants won the game, and Shepard knows that is more important that his personal stats. He also knows he will see plenty of targets moving forward.
“I know it is going to be alright and we came out with the W, like I said, so that is all that matters at the end of the day,” said Shepard.
“I apologized for not getting him a catch,” said Manning. “We need to get him the ball and get him catches. That’s just the way the day kind of went. He’s done a good job all year and we have to get him involved in the offense.”
A big reason for the lack of targets to Shepard was the game plan the Cleveland Browns used on defense. Shepard has become a threat in the middle of the field, running slant routes. Cleveland used a scheme to take that away.
“Yeah, they were trying to eliminate the slant,” said Shepard when asked about the defense game plan. “That is one of my big routes that I get open on and they had a guy looking at me on the inside and they had a guy over the top of me, especially in the third down area.”
“It’s just all based on coverage,” added Manning. “What we were trying to do and the coverages that we were getting, we had other guys that were the primary. We just didn’t get it down to him.”
Shepard has 44 receptions for 476 yards and five touchdowns so far this season, all good for second on the team behind superstar Odell Beckham Jr.
This week, the Giants head to Pittsburgh for a Sunday matchup with the Steelers. With both teams expected to be able to put plenty of points on the board, one can expect more targets headed Shepard’s way.
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