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Pat Shurmur: Sterling Shepard issue “serious,” more takeaways

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants coach Pat Shurmur addressed a wide array of issues on Tuesday, a day after the Giants lost to the Dallas Cowboys, in a conference call with reporters. among them were Sterling Shepard, issues in the secondary and his first-half decision that backfired.

“Serious injury” for Shepard

“This is a serious injury, and in my mind, it requires a serious response. We want to make sure he’s well before he goes back out there. That’s it,” Shurmur said.

“I think we have to use good judgment and we need to be very deliberate about guys coming back from injuries such as this. There are signs and there are things, as they go through coming back from concussions, they certainly go through the protocol, but there’s also the activity and how they respond to it and all of that. At some point, we just have to use our gut. Listen, I mentioned it, it’s a serious injury and we’re taking it very seriously. We just have to try to make good decisions.”

DeAndre Baker remains a starter

Was Baker at fault for the 45-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper on Monday night? Was it Corey Ballentine? Someone else? Regardless, it is Baker — whome the Giants traded into the first round to draft — who is drawing scrutiny for his continued struggles. Shurmur said Tuesday that Baker will continue to start.

“He’s out there competing and battling. He’s made great progress since the first time he stepped on the field and he’ll continue to do that. I think we all had mistakes last night and certainly he has to clean up his, but we’ll continue to encourage him to play well,” Shurmur said.

“I think he’s learning how to be a pro. I’ve seen great improvement in him. The fact that he’s self-aware enough to know that there are areas that he can get better, I think is a good thing. I think he’s made great progress in terms of learning how to be a pro and doing things in this league, because it’s different than college. There’s a lot that goes into it, and he’s made great progress. The fact that he’s self-aware enough to know that he has to continue to improve tells me that he will improve.”

Shurmur did add that the Giants will activate cornerback Sam Beal off injured reserve this week, meaning someone will have to be released from the 53-man roster.

On Ballentine’s debut

The sixth-round pick played in place of Grant Haley in the slot on Monday. He had an up-and-down night.

“Corey was back healthy, we felt like we wanted to change it up and give him an opportunity. He had worked both outside and inside, he had been dealing with some injuries certainly,” Shurmur said. “Obviously, you all weren’t aware of the week of preparation, but I thought he went out there and battled. He did some good things last night and we just wanted to give him an opportunity. We like where he’s come, and we felt like he did some good things last night.”

On being aggressive at the end of the first half

Shurmur continued to defend his decision to have Daniel Jones throw from the Giants’ 26-yard line on the final possession of the first half backfired when the rookie threw an interception that cost the Giants the first-half lead.

“That was the idea, to put together a two-minute drive, certainly. I think we started it out, we had a dropped ball and then he [Jones] and Saquon were off target on the second down deal and then I think we get a little bit of a recognition, I thought put the ball up, probably could be a little bit further outside, but we had a coverage that we were trying to attack in that situation and try to be aggressive,” Shurmur said. “We certainly don’t want an interception there, but then let’s get a tackle, let’s get a stop, then we go. I felt like at that point, so we went down 13-12. Because we missed an extra point, it would’ve been a tie ball game, and then you just come out swinging and keep playing. We weren’t doing that to get Daniel Jones training. We’re trying to do what we can to be aggressive and win a game.”