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Ask #GiantsChat: Strength of receiving corps?

shepard writer John Schmeelk answers your fan-submitted questions from #GiantsChat

This is an excellent question and something that fans and outside analysts often overlook, though it is very important to coaches. Blocking for all position groups is always something that is worked on during individual drills and special teams portions of practice. 

I will harken back to something Pat Shurmur said after the Bears game last week about this group of wide receivers. "That crew of receivers are all very smart," Shurmur said. "They are very veteran in a lot of ways and I like them and trust them. Really, the crux of it all, I think they are a bunch of tough guys. They play a fancy position, but I think they are a bunch of tough guys. I think that wins the day, too." 

Other than Sterling Shepard, the rest of the veteran wide receivers on the roster have primarily been special teams players over the course of their careers, including Cody Latimer, Bennie Fowler, Russell Shepard and TJ Jones. Being effective on coverage teams requires a level of physicality and a willingness to hit and be hit. 

The Giants also have wide receivers with impressive statures. Latimer is 6-3 and 222 pounds. Fowler is 6-1 and 218 pounds. Alonzo Russell (who has been used as a gunner) is 6-4 and 218 pounds. They are physically imposing players at the position and are willing to use it blocking in the run game. Even the Giants'top two receivers, Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard, who are under 200 pounds, are physical players and willing and capable blockers. 

When a team employs a running back like Saquon Barkley, whose explosiveness gives him a chance to make a big play at any time, good wide receiver blocking is critical. A receiver being willing to sustain a block for a few extra seconds can turn a 15-yard run into a 60-yard run. Sterling Shepard showed that last year, when he was sprinting 40 yards downfield to throw a block for Barkley on one of his long runs against the Redskins.


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