Sterling Shepard enters his fourth year with the Giants, which makes him the receiver with the most experience playing with Eli Manning.
So when Shepard joined Manning for his annual spring throwing program, this year it was in New Jersey, he noticed there was something different about the 38-year-old veteran.
“Yeah, he’s the same guy but I think he’s just upped it a little bit more,” Shepard said Tuesday at Giants minicamp. “I saw him after every single throwing session, he was doing a conditioning session without us. I’ve always seen him do conditioning, but afterwards he was getting after it, that was a little different from what I saw previous years.”
Manning is in the final year of his contract and the Giants drafted Duke quarterback Daniel Jones with the No. 6 pick as his eventual successor. While Jones is not expected to take over the starting quarterback’s job for at least another year, his presence has clearly motivated Manning.
Golden Tate, whom the Giants signed after trading Odell Beckham Jr., told Mike Garafolo of NFL Network that he did not know what to expect from the aging star but sees a “hungry” quarterback.
“I think he has a lot left in the tank,” Tate said. “You could see it on the field. Making throws to the opposite hash all the way to the sidleine, that’s impressive. There’s not even young guys who can do that. He understands the offense and he’s showing up; to work every single day. He’s still hungry, like he’s a young guy, and that’s what you want, especially in your quarterback.”
While the two receivers are showing praise for Manning, they also both like what they see in the future franchise quarterback for the Giants.
Jones even showed off his speed in a designed run for the quarterback.
“Oh man, he pulled that thing and kicked the knees up, it was good,” Shepard said. “I knew we were going to get the defense on that, but yeah, he looked great running.”
Added Tate: “Today, for me, he did his best job leading the huddle, making plays with his arms, his legs. Made some crucial throws on third-down. That’s impressive. He’s made huge jumps since he arrived here a month ago. We just hope he continues to do that.: