Despite putting up some good numbers and showing promise in his NFL debut, Sterling Shepard wants to get back to basics for Week 2 against the New Orleans Saints.
The New York Giants wide receiver, the team’s second round pick from Oklahoma, showed flashes of potential this past Sunday in a 20-19 win at the Dallas Cowboys. Shepard had three catches for 43 yards and a touchdown but he tells Metro New York that he was to blame on quarterback Eli Manning’s interception pass.
The interception came when Shepard cut his route short, leading Manning’s pass to end up in the hands of Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr. It was a glaring mistake in what was an otherwise solid first NFL game for the rookie.
“Just the little things, the little mistakes. I got to stick to what I know, pretty much. I caused the interception, running the wrong routes. I gotta just stick to what I know, do what I’m taught, not let the game get to me,” Shepard told Metro.
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“I’m going to make mistakes throughout the game, that one instance doesn’t show that I’m a bad route-runner. I got to learn from that and that’s something I’ve been working on.”
Shepard came into the NFL with a reputation as a solid route-runner with good technique so his mistake on Sunday was a bit of a surprise.
The good news is that this weekend against the Saints, the Giants and Shepard face a secondary that is young and inexperienced. Last week in a 35-34 home loss to the Oakland Raiders, the Saints allowed 319 passing yards and for second-year quarterback Derek Carr to complete 63 percent of his passes. This could be an opportunity for Shepard to make a big splash in his rookie season and to do so early.
What stood out from Shepard’s debut away from his three receptions was willingness to run block. Shepard was pesky and tenacious, showing a willingness to block for the running backs down the field.
“That was kind of instilled at me in Oklahoma, to break big runs, to keep people off your back, you’ve got to block,” Shepard said. “That’s always stuck with me, has stuck with me here.”