New York Giants receivers Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton ruled out vs. New Orleans Saints

ByJordan Raanan ESPN logo
Friday, October 1, 2021

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J -- The New York Giants will be looking for their first win of the season on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints without receivers Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton. Both were ruled out Friday because of hamstring injuries.

The Giants will also be without starting left guard Ben Bredeson (hand). It will be the fourth straight game they have a new starting left guard because of injury.

Shepard is the Giants' (0-3) leading receiver. He has 18 catches for 223 yards and a touchdown despite leaving in the first half of last week's loss to the Atlanta Falcons. He has been quarterback Daniel Jones' top option with 22 targets.

Slayton has seven catches for 127 yards and a touchdown. He also exited in the first half with a hamstring problem against the Falcons. The Giants will now have to lean more heavily on prized offseason acquisition Kenny Golladay and first-round pick Kadarius Toney in a game they desperately need to win against one of the league's best defenses. New Orleans comes into Sunday with the NFL's sixth-ranked defense.

Golladay has started the season slowly while dealing with hamstring and hip injuries after signing a four-year, $72 million deal this offseason. But he was not given an injury designation for Sunday's game, a positive sign after he needed a pregame workout to prove he was healthy enough to play against the Falcons.

"Kenny came out of the game last week [vs. Atlanta] in a good place," coach Joe Judge said on Friday morning. "He had a good practice for us [Thursday]. He's progressing healthwise. He was productive for us on the field last week. We would expect to see him this week."

Toney, the 20th overall pick out of the University of Florida, has been used sparingly so far this season. He saw more action against the Falcons after Shepard and Slayton went down but still has just four receptions for 14 yards this season. He had two catches for 16 yards against Atlanta.

"I would expect him to be doing more than what we've seen in previous weeks, just naturally, not based on anyone being injured," Judge said. "Just naturally based on his progression within the system."

That becomes even more pressing with Shepard and Slayton out. Neither practiced this week.

Summer acquisition Colin Thompson is also expected to see an increased role and should start alongside Golladay in New Orleans.

It might not matter whom the Giants have at wide receiver if the newest version of the offensive line can't protect Jones. Veteran Matt Skura, signed last month, is likely to become their fourth starting left guard this season. Shane Lemieux (knee) and Nick Gates (leg) have already been lost for the season. Bredeson could also land on injured reserve.

Starting middle linebacker Tae Crowder (hamstring), tight end Kaden Smith (knee), special teams ace Nate Ebner (quad) and defensive back Keion Crossen (elbow) are all questionable for the Giants on Sunday.