The Giants lost on Sunday. They have a short week. They’re heading up to Foxborough to face the defending Super Bowl champions, the undefeated Patriots in a nationally televised game.
That would be plenty to be gloomy about by itself.
On Monday, though, another cloud moved in to join the misery.
Wide receiver Sterling Shepard returned to the NFL’s concussion protocol and, per a source, he could be out for a while. This is the second concussion for Shepard in the first five weeks of the season. He suffered his first in Week 1 against Dallas.
Shepard was removed from Sunday’s game against the Vikings and evaluated for a concussion after a hit along the sideline on a deep pass in his direction. He returned to the game after he was cleared but on Monday notified the Giants of symptoms.
His absence on Thursday will leave an already shorthanded Giants team without its leading receiver. Oh, tight end Evan Engram is dealing with a knee injury. So the Giants could conceivably play this game without their top three playmakers on offense if Saquon Barkley is ruled out.
The Giants generally face the Patriots in the final preseason game each summer. This regular-season contest could have that kind of feel to it in terms of the Giants’ starting lineup.
But Pat Shurmur, who said he would root out any players who were discouraged from the roster, insisted that the Giants remain in appropriate spirits despite their plight.
“The mood? They were about their business,” Shurmur said. “We’re all disappointed that we lost but nobody is discouraged. Everybody came out here with a can-do attitude and I thought it was a really good practice, actually.”
Veteran wide receiver Golden Tate said he thought the team had a good mindset on Monday.
“Obviously if I came in here and the whole locker room was having a party, I’d be pretty [ticked] off,” he said. “I don’t think anyone in this locker room likes to lose… The mood, it’s not super giddy. It’s more serious this week and we understand the task that is coming up in a few days. We were a little bummed by yesterday but we’re ready to move on.”
Tate, who groused about his lack of opportunities on Sunday in his first game back from a four-game suspension, will likely see much more action now with Shepard out.
“Honestly, whatever it takes to win,” he said. “I mean, that’s the goal here. That’s what I want my part to be, just help us win. If that means I run more plays, so be it. Less plays, whatever. Just win. Coming into this locker room after last week’s win was fun and today wasn’t as fun. So, we want to get back to winning.”
The injury situation on the defensive side of the ball is slightly more encouraging. Linebacker and defensive captain Alec Ogletree (hamstring) was listed as limited for Monday and fellow inside linebacker Tae Davis cleared the concussion protocol.
“We’ll do the very best we can to get as many players back as quickly as possible so that they’ll be able to play Thursday,” Shurmur said.
And if not, well, the game kicks off at 8:20 p.m. no matter who is available.
Until then, the Giants remain focused on winning, not whining.
TATE NOT UNHAPPY. Tate was taken aback that his postgame comments about playing time on Sunday were perceived to illustrate any discontent.
“The only thing I was saying is I hope I’m more involved at some point but I do understand that was my first week back and there is a process to this,” he said. “I’m very happy to be a New York Giant, I’m very happy to be back in this locker room playing football.”
Shurmur said there was nothing he needed to talk to Tate about regarding the comments.
“Of course when you ask a receiver what he thinks about getting the ball, they are going to want it,” Shurmur said. “He’s a very positive guy and a great influence on the team. I don’t think there’s anything to it, quite frankly.”
Tate caught the first pass of the game for the Giants but finished with just three catches for 13 yards.
“I think it would be more alarming if I said ‘No, I don’t want to play more, I don’t want more passes,’” Tate said. “I would look at that guy [who said such things] a little funny.”