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New York Giants: Why Sterling Shepard Might Struggle in 2019

The New York Giants will be without Odell Beckham Jr. in 2019 and the offense will look completely different. The Giants will no longer have their superstar wide receiver for Eli Manning to force the ball too.

Instead, the Giants will have a couple of dependable slot receivers in 2019. Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate are the new primary receivers in the Giants’ passing attack.

Many believe that the subtraction of Odell will lead to the addition of increased performance by Sterling Shepard. Unfortunately, that might not be true.

Shepard’s Stats Without Beckham

It would be easy to assume that without the Giants’ primary receiver on the field, the secondary receiver’s stats would improve. Sterling Shepard’s stats did not improve when Beckham was off the field.

The New York Giants made a serious commitment to Sterling Shepard in the 2019 offseason. They signed him to a four-year, $41 million extension. This extension solidifies Shepard as the Giants’ primary receiver for the foreseeable future.

However, there is an argument to be made that Shepard has not proven himself entirely worthy of this extension. In the 11 games that Shepard played in 2017 and 2018 without Odell Beckham Jr. on the field, his stats were underwhelming.

Shep hauled in 58 receptions for 746 yards and only 2 touchdowns in those 11 games. That is only an average of 67 yards per game, and just barely over 5 receptions per game. Shepard has not been a highly productive receiver without Odell Beckham being double covered on the outside.

Why He Might Succeed:

Sterling Shepard did struggle when he was the primary receiver in 2017 and 2018. But there could be reason for him not to have the same struggles in 2019.

The Giants traded away Odell, but they replaced him with Golden Tate. Tate is a yards-after-catch monster. The receiving duo of Shepard and Tate could be among the league’s best if Shepard can reach his full potential.

Sterling clearly struggled when there was not another primary receiver on the field alongside him. But that should not happen in 2019. Golden Tate will play alongside Sterling Shepard and this should keep Shepard from struggling too much.

Whenever Odell Beckham Jr. is on the field, he requires extra defensive help and pressure. Golden Tate might not require the same assistance, but he still needs to be held in check more than Bennie Fowler or Russell Shepard. This could give Sterling Shepard the opportunity to flourish in the Giants’ new offense.

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