It was a play worth celebrating, but Sterling Shepard went too far.
The slippery Shepard caused Corey Ballentine to fall down in coverage and streaked open, hauling in a deep pass from Daniel Jones and hanging on through a collision with Julian Love at the 10-yard line. Shepard bounced to his feet and excitedly chucked the ball about 30 yards.
Because coach Joe Judge penalizes anything in Giants practice that would be a penalty in a game, he ordered Shepard to retrieve the ball and walk it back to him at midfield. The two chatted until a pat on the back.
“It would have been a 15-yard penalty in a game, and that’s what he told me,” Shepard said. “I thought about it, and that is true. When you make a big play at practice, you tend to do stuff that you might not do in a real game. Sometimes emotions get high in a game. Yeah, I need to think about those things before I do them.”
Shepard is one of the most animated players at practice, especially when the jawing starts across the line of scrimmage. He hasn’t had a problem keeping his cool in games.
“You have to take coaching in every way, shape and form,” Shepard said. “I need somebody to stay on me. You can be a 10-year vet and think you have everything figured out, but you really don’t. It keeps you grounded. I appreciate having a coach like Coach Judge.”
Judge doesn’t hesitate to make an example of his stars, even after a “tremendous play.”
“That’s not something that we’re going to accept from any player on the team,” Judge said. “It’s a learning lesson that he’s got to take and go forward. But it’s important that everybody else learns from that same lesson that we don’t have to repeat the mistake.”
A rookie swap happened on the offensive line, as third-rounder Matt Peart bumped up to first-team at the expense of first-rounder Andrew Thomas. They both are working at left and right tackle.
“He’s a guy who comes to work every day with a lunch pail and he’s improved going along,” Judge said of Peart. “We’re going to work guys at different spots and make sure we build in versatility and position depth.”
The Giants signed undrafted rookie RB Tavien Feaster (cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars) and waived WR Tony Brown.
The Giants considered splitting into two mixed teams for Friday’s scrimmage but will keep it to offense versus defense, with the starters going head-to-head.
“We felt it was really best for the offensive and defensive coaches and units to get used to the communication that they’re going to have on the sideline together,” Judge said. “We can still accomplish everything we want to.”
That includes building in two-minute and four-minute drills and red-zone situations.
“We’re going to simulate this game as much as we can, and we’ll let it be natural,” Judge said. “Start with a kickoff, kick return, wherever the ball lies, we’re just going to play it from there.”