Sterling Shepard last saw Odell Beckham Jr. heading to get an MRI exam Sunday. He saw Brandon Marshall there, too. Shepard, who already underwent an MRI, found it funny he didn’t see Dwayne Harris, also, the fourth receiver injured in Sunday’s loss to the Chargers.
Beckham underwent surgery Monday night on his fractured ankle, while Marshall (ankle) and Harris (foot) also both had season-ending surgery Tuesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery.
Seeing none of the receivers Tuesday at the team’s facility, Shepard found it difficult to pretend it was just another day of preparation, heading into this weekend’s game against the Broncos.
“It is different. You don’t have guys cracking jokes like you usually do,” Shepard said Tuesday. “You don’t have three guys in the room that were big pieces to our puzzle.
“I’ve never seen anything like that. Four guys from one group go down.”
Shepard, whose left foot was heavily taped after suffering a sprained ankle, is the only starter still standing, or at least hobbling, in the locker room. He said he is unsure if he’ll be able to play in Denver, but if the second-year receiver suits up, he will be the most accomplished receiver Eli Manning can throw to.
Joining Shepard on the first-team depth chart are Roger Lewis Jr., who has 15 catches in 18 career games, and newly re-signed Tavarres King, who has just four career regular-season catches. Travis Rudolph and Ed Eagan were promoted from the practice squad, and have never appeared in an NFL game.
Seeing such an inexperienced cast representing what was supposed to be one of the team’s greatest strengths is strange. Manning’s silver lining in an ever-darkening season is that they aren’t strangers.
“I think it’s different when you bring in a guy who is brand new to the system,” Manning said. “They’ll be ready. They’ll know the system. They’ll know what they’re doing. [I’ve] thrown the routes with them before, shouldn’t…