Some players would find it difficult bouncing around from team to team, but being on his fourth team might be a benefit for Giants linebacker Kelvin Sheppard.
“With it not bring my first time having to go right in and learn a new scheme, and be expected to go out and perform right away,” Sheppard said. “So it’s good for me because it has happened twice, in my career now, this being the third time. So yes, I believe I’m handling it pretty well right now. Just have to continue to get better, no matter where I am right now. Know that there’s always room for improvement.”
Sheppard was on the 2007 LSU Tigers team that won the BCS National Championship and was named First-team All-SEC in 2010.
He played two seasons with the Bills, one with the Colts and the last two seasons with the Dolphins. Then the Giants signed him in April.
“He’s an instinctive guy,” head coach Ben McAdoo said. “He gets football and has a nose for the ball. His energy impacts everybody out there. He’s a big energy guy.”
The coaching staff can look to move the veteran around. “Versatility is longevity in this league,” McAdoo said. “The more you can do the longer you’ll be around and the more you have to offer.”
Sheppard finds himself in a competition for the middle linebacker spot. Sheppard, who set a career-high with 105 tackles last season, doesn’t think that the team is trying any head games, but rather just trying to find the best fit for the position. “I believe that this is a true competition situation here,” Sheppard said. “I don’t think they are playing around with anybody’s mind, or trying to do a mind game. I believe that it’s true competition and every guy has to earn their reps. It starts with, one, being able to know what you’re doing out there and, two, being able to go out and actually perform. So I think every guy’s reps here are definitely earned.”
Although competition can be healthy and being out the best in athletes, there is the balance of competition and making sure everybody knows their role. “It’s very important, but at the same time, I believe all the guys in the room understand what’s going on here and they understand the situation,” Sheppard said. “I think that every guy in that defensive room is all for it because they want the best guy. They want whoever fits the mode for this middle-linebacker position to be out there.”
Sheppard believes that if the linebackers play up to their potential, the unit can be among the top in the NFL. “One of the best in the league, if not the best,” Sheppard said. “From the starters to the depth that we have, I say that. The reason I say it is because you don’t see this depth.”