Sterling Shepard – © USA TODAY Sports
STERLING SHEPARD DONE FOR THE SEASON…
As feared, wide receiver Sterling Shepard tore the ACL in his left knee on New York’s final offensive play against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night. His season, and possibly career with the Giants, is over.
Shepard was selected in the 2nd round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Giants. Shepard started all 16 games in 2016 and 2018, but has now missed significant time due to injury in his five other seasons. He has never come close to cracking the 1,000-yard mark in a single season or duplicating his 8-touchdown season of his rookie campaign. In 2021, Shepard missed seven games with hamstring and quad injuries before tearing his left Achilles’ tendon in mid-December. He finished the year playing in seven games, catching just 36 passes for 366 yards and one touchdown. This year, through three games, Shepard had caught 13 passes for 154 yards and one touchdown.
SEPTEMBER 27, 2022 BRIAN DABOLL PRESS CONFERENCE…
New York Giants Head Coach Brian Daboll addressed the media on Tuesday to discuss his team’s 23-16 defeat to the Dallas Cowboys (the VIDEO of the press conference is also available on YouTube):
Q: Just first off, wondering if you had any update on (wide receiver) Sterling Shepard?
A: Yeah. ACL. Got that news just about 15 minutes ago in the doctors’ meeting. And again, to reiterate what I said yesterday, he’s a tremendous person. He worked so diligently to get back, and (I) feel terrible for him that he had that injury. He’s a big part of our team, and we’ll miss him out on the field.
Q: As far as (tackle) Evan Neal, obviously a rough night. But is there anything like technically that you can pinpoint? Because I remember (tackle) Andrew Thomas’ rookie year, he was getting beat inside a lot. They hammered that point, and obviously he got better. Is there one specific thing you’re saying, ‘He needs to do this better,’ ‘We need to teach this better,’?
A: No. We just keep on building the technique. There’s growing pains. I would say it’s not just Ev (Evan Neal), which he got beat a couple times on the edge by a pretty good player. There was a lot of things we could have done better. And protection-wise after going through it, whether it’s the chips, the (running) backs, one-one-ones against the blitzers, the inside movement, the games inside. There was quite a bit of things. But Evan’s a diligent guy. We’ll work on improving him and try to be better next week.
Q: I’m curious when you went back and you looked at the tape, what did you see from your offensive line in regards to the pass protection, and why do you think it’s been a struggle here early this season?
A: Well, yesterday wasn’t just the line. Were there some plays that we got beat? Yeah. There were. I think everybody can do better. All of us, altogether. There was some stuff inside, like I said some games, some edge stuff. We can chip better. We can stay on a little bit longer. I think (offensive coordinator) Mike (Kafka) was trying to – we were going quick at times, trying to throw it quick, use seven-man protection. We used jams on I don’t know how many snaps. It was a lot. We can help in that area too and be better in those areas – whether it be tight end with the backs. Again, it was a good front. They got the best of us, and we’re going to have to continue to keep working to get better.
Q: And with Shepard out now obviously, where do you go with wide receiver? What do you look for the answer?
A: The guys that we have. Those guys are going to have to continue to work hard, build trust with the quarterback. They’ll be practicing, and hopefully we make some strides in that area.
Q: Are KT (wide receiver Kadarius Toney) and (wide receiver) Wan’Dale (Robinson) any closer? I mean, how close are they at this point?
A: They’re getting closer. Will they be ready this week? I can’t answer that yet. And from the meeting I just had with the doctors, they’re getting closer. But we’re not out of the blue yet with it.
Q: When you look back at last night and the way Daniel played given the unrest that he was in and some of the things he created, what did you see there? And what kind of a step forward was that for him for a lack of a better way to put it?
A: I think he’s made steps each game. I thought he played well yesterday. He was under some duress. He escaped. He made some loose plays. He did some things with his feet. He made some good throws. He competed his tail off. I thought all the guys competed. I thought we played hard, and we competed for 60 minutes. We just lacked on some other things that caused us to have the result that we had. I thought he was really good on the sideline. Again, I think he’s improved every game. He’s really improved every practice, and he was a good leader out there. And he competed as hard as he could compete and gave us a chance.
Q: What did you think of (outside linebacker Kayvon) Thibodeaux and (outside linebacker Azeez) Ojulari in their first game? Why do you guys think you weren’t able to generate more of a pass rush?
A: They did a good job of blocking us. There was a couple in there that we had. Again, they were on their pitch count. I thought they gave good effort. Thibs’ (Kayvon Thibodeaux) first game as a pro. Did some good things, but some things we definitely need to get better and work at. But give (the) Dallas (Cowboys) credit, too. They did a good job of blocking us.
Q: And everybody knows your smart, tough, dependable. How much of dependable is available? Is that the same to you? Do you have to be available to be dependable?
Q: Another question about Daniel. In a game like yesterday – when he plays well, he’s facing constant pressure, but the team doesn’t win or score enough points – in the long-term view, obviously, you guys are trying to evaluate him as ‘Is he our franchise quarterback?’ Do the results ultimately define that evaluation? Or is a game like yesterday a step forward for him to prove he’s the guy despite the results?
A: That’s a good question. I think what we try to do each week is just see where we’re at for that week – evaluate the performance. Again, we evaluate the performances on past, but I thought he made good strides. Obviously not scoring enough points, and we left some plays out there on the field. But the job that he did in terms of running the offense, handling things when things weren’t always perfect. The last play he threw that pick, but it really wasn’t on him. I thought that he’s making improvement. I think that’s important as we go throughout the season.
Q: First, real quick on the wide receivers, is there any need, desire – do you even have the wherewithal to bring in somebody else on the team at this point?
A: (General manager) Joe (Schoen) is always looking and his staff. But we have those guys right now who we have. And we’re going to expect them to come out here, keep improving, work hard. We have a couple guys on our practice squad right now that maybe they come into play; they’ve been picking up our stuff. So, we’ll see as we go.
Q: The question I had was just the kind of procedural stuff of getting the right personnel on the field. It seems like that was a bit of a struggle at times last night. There were a couple of times where you guys were scrambling around a little bit. You only had 10 men on the field for the Zeke (Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot) touchdown. How do you go about fixing that, and is that something that just kind of cropped up? Or were you seeing signs of that throughout the first two games?
A: No, no I mean look, on that play on the goal line (defensive coordinator), Wink (Martindale) called for a personnel group, and there was one player that didn’t go in. So, we need to do a good job of listening to the play caller’s instructions and go in and be ready to go.
Q: You won your first two games, pretty close games. I’m sure your message to the guys was, ‘We’re not going 17-0,’ or whatever. That probably wasn’t your message. What do you have to learn out of last night? This is now your first bit of adversity so to speak in terms of results. What’s your message to these guys going forward?
A: The same that it’s been since I started. Be consistent. It’s never as good as you think, never as bad as you think. There’s certain things from week to week that we need to improve on. Win with class, and lose with class. When you lose, you even lose with more class. Own it, accept responsibility, fix the things we need to fix and move on. You’re going to have these; this is fortunately a short week. The coaches are upstairs; they’re not going to get much sleep this week, but you move on pretty quickly in this league whether you win or lose. Again, the way they prepared, the things that they did during the week, the effort that they gave – that’s what we’re looking for. Now, there’s certain things that we all can fix to be better. From week to week, I’d say that changes. There’s a consistency in how we want to do things, but something might show up this week that didn’t show up last week. And now you got to place an emphasis on that, and go out there and be consistent in your preparation. Be consistent in how you practice and get ready to play a game.
Q: Did the doctors ever explain to you – you look at Shep’s (Sterling Shepard) injury, he’s just jogging along and all of the sudden. Did they ever say, ‘It’s just what happens,’?
A: I’m thinking the same thing as you watch it. He’s just slowing down. It could have happened, I’m not saying it happened, you see a couple of plays before where he turns when he’s running an in-cut and he’s extended. He went out there on the next play and did something. Again, it kind of looked like a freaky accident there.
Q: What do you do right now with (wide receiver) Kenny Golladay to make him someone who is contributing to winning efforts?
A: The same thing we try to do with all out guys is go out there, install the gameplan with them, work as hard as he can work, build trust with the quarterback and when he has opportunities to make plays, he goes out and makes them.
Q: Does any of this mystify even you – the great football mind you are? This is a guy who had a track record in Detroit (with the Lions); I’m not suggesting he was the best receiver in the league, but he had a track record. And now you see him dropping catches frankly at practice when we’re able to watch, and you see the same results in games.
A: Every situation is different. He’s trying to put his best foot forward, work as hard as he can and I’d say that you got to, again, be consistent with what we’re doing and keep on improving. And I know he’ll try to do that.
Q: How did you think Kenny played last night?
A: He had a couple of opportunities there to go ahead and make plays. I thought he played with good effort. Obviously, we’d like to finish the play at the end of that drive in the fourth quarter, and I know he would like to, too. Again, he did the things that we asked him to do in terms of being in the right spot; and now we just got to work on finishing those things.
Q: One on Daniel, it’s kind of a play on some of the other questions that were asked. How difficult on a night like that when he is being pressured – how much do you put on the offensive line? How much do you put on the receivers? And how difficult is it to evaluate long term when those other things are breaking down?
A: You never want that to happen, but that’s a good evaluation to get, too, particularly on a quarterback when they’re under pressure or things aren’t always perfect and how can you ad lib and make plays when it’s not just exactly like it is on the play diagram. I thought he did that well.
Q: One of the things you hear a lot when these injuries keep happening, especially here, is the turf in MetLife. I was wondering where you stand on that and if you’ve looked into that at all or if you have an opinion basically on the turf versus grass debate.
A: No, I know there’s been a lot of studies. Not just here but probably in every stadium. I think, again, you look at Shep’s injury it’s – he was jogging. I’m sure that throughout the season and the offseason that we’ll sit down and discuss those type of things.
The Giants have lost 11 consecutive prime time games since winning in San Francisco on Monday night on November 12, 2018. They have lost seven in a row and nine of their last 10 on Monday night.
WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Brian Daboll and select players address the media on Wednesday by conference call.