Why NY Giants’ Sterling Shepard is vital to Daniel Jones’ success

NY Giants WR Sterling Shepard has proven vital to the success of second-year QB Daniel Jones

Some of NY Giants quarterback Daniel Jones’ finest performances have come with Sterling Shepard on the field, and the Giants hope that the veteran wide receiver is just getting going in 2020.

Shepard, despite somewhat limited playing time, had a strong showing in his return from turf toe in last Thursday night’s 22-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. In his first action since Week 2, Shepard caught six of his eight targets for 59 yards and a touchdown.

Giants’ wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert wasn’t surprised.

“Sterling’s a ball player,” Tolbert said Wednesday. “He’s just a ball player. A ball player in the run-game, a ball-player in the passing game, and Sterling looked about how I thought he would look coming back.”

The Giants’ plan was to bring Shepard along slowly, but he wound up 77 percent of the team’s offensive snaps, and played at a pretty high level.

“We wanted to not play him the whole game, but he was playing well, it was going well for him, and he probably played a few more plays than we anticipated, but it worked out well, he had some production, and I’m really happy to have him back in the mix. He’ll be healthier this week than he was last week and that’s a positive sign for us.”

Shepard has been on the field for three of Jones’ four career victories, and Jones has completed 62 of 83 targets to Shepard for 395 yards and four touchdowns since his arrival last season.

Tolbert says he fully understands the value Shepard brings to the Giants’ offense, and to Jones.

“He runs really good routes,” Tolbert said. “He has good suddenness. He gets quickly in and out of his breaks. He does bring that juice to the offense. He brought that juice to the whole offense, not just the whole wide receiver group. So, if he’s on the sideline, he’s pumping everyone up, we missed his leadership skills out there, and we saw that helped our offense during the game, and so did his playmaking skills.”