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Wednesday Media Transcript: LB Kelvin Sheppard

Eric from BBI : Admin : 8/17/2016 4:36 pm
LB Kelvin Sheppard

August 17, 2016

Q: You've been working with the starters, how’s it been going for you?

A: Good. It's been a good feel, to get out there with the first group, get a feel for those guys. It's all about the chemistry, no matter what players you put in. What you do in the classroom, it has to correlate to what you do on the field, and that comes with repetition.

Q: Do you think it helps that you've been on different teams before?

A: I think it definitely helped me with the transition. I believe that is what you're referring to. With it not being my first time having to go right in and learn a new scheme, and be expected to go out and perform right away. 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.

Q: How do you think the position has changed since you've been in the league.

A: I can answer that by saying I've lost 15 pounds since my rookie year. When I came into the league, I got drafted by Buffalo coincidently; we're going up there this week. It was ‘we want you big, we want you in the middle, downhill, you're a run-stuffing Mike-linebacker.’ Now they still want you to do that but a lot of teams, you have to be able to play on third down. You get to these spread offenses, it's first and second down. Then you open the game with five and four wide-receivers. So you do have to be able to run in space.

Q: Is it a good competition for the MIKE spot?

A: It's a great competition. I believe if you look all over the league, it’s great competition. This is just a unique situation because there are guys being rolled in and out with the first group. But if you looked throughout the league, it's competition in every training camp. You have to expect that, the top tier of our business. So you have to expect competition.

Q: Do you feel that you're being rotated in or do you feel like you earned it?

A: I believe that this a true competition situation here. 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.

Q: How important do you think it is for the defense as a whole to have an idea of who's going to be in the huddle?

A: 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. I think that every guy in that defensive room is all for itbecause they want the best guy. They want whoever fits the mode for this middle-linebacker position to be out there.

Q: How hard is it to be a cover guy?

A: It's all about technique and understanding the schemes and where your help is in defenses. I've been playing football since I was five years old; and to be honest from recreation ball till now, the coverages are the coverages. It's about the way they're taught, the way they're implemented per your defense scheme, and knowing where the other 10 guys are. It's not about your 40 time and things. That looks good at the combine, but I know guys that can run all day. But you put them out there and tell them what's cover-three and they hit their heads on the goal post. It's about being able to be intellectual, but at the same time have those tools and abilities to be able to keep up with guys that can run in this league.

Q: How well do you think this linebacker corps can be?

A: One of the best in the league, if not the best. 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. We have right now seven guys that I believe have started real NFL football games, and I believe we can be one of the better corps, we just have to work at it.
Never really saw him play but can't help but like  
giant24 : 8/17/2016 5:13 pm : link
him after seeing this video of him beating up on Shady McCoy.

I think its Paulie D that says this guy will end up winning the job at middle linebacker.


Kelvin-Sheppard-Micd-Up - ( New Window )
I found this part interesting.  
Klaatu : 8/17/2016 5:14 pm : link
Quote:
Q: How do you think the position has changed since you've been in the league.

A: I can answer that by saying I've lost 15 pounds since my rookie year. When I came into the league, I got drafted by Buffalo coincidently; we're going up there this week. It was ‘we want you big, we want you in the middle, downhill, you're a run-stuffing Mike-linebacker.’ Now they still want you to do that but a lot of teams, you have to be able to play on third down. You get to these spread offenses, it's first and second down. Then you open the game with five and four wide-receivers. So you do have to be able to run in space.


Sheppard's Combine weight was 250, and I've never seen him listed anywhere less than 249. Did Buffalo have him bulk up? Is he closer to 235 than 250?

Where's Elite Mobster when you need him?
I found this to be fairly eye-opening as well...  
Jimmy Googs : 8/17/2016 7:42 pm : link
Q: How well do you think this linebacker corps can be?

A: One of the best in the league, if not the best. 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. We have right now seven guys that I believe have started real NFL football games, and I believe we can be one of the better corps, we just have to work at it.
Even though Big Blue Blogger pointed out in another thread...  
Klaatu : 8/18/2016 8:24 am : link
That Jasper Brinkley's $1.7 million is guaranteed, making him a virtual lock to make the team, I still say he could be a surprise cut if he's behind Sheppard on the depth chart and has B.J. Goodson nipping at his heels.

Brinkley got two million guaranteed from the Cowboys, but that didn't stop them from cutting him. It may not be the best business decision, but from a football standpoint, why keep a 31 year-old LB who may end up as your #3 MIKE? A two-down player who won't be an asset on special teams or in sub-packages?

I don't know...I just get the feeling that his days as a Giant are numbered.
With the competition at LB, it seems like a difference maker  
Jimmy Googs : 8/18/2016 9:52 am : link
may very well be who is the more flexible player that can cover multiple positions versus salary.

Deep in players, still too shallow in talent for my taste...
A lot of folks here thought, or perhaps more accurately stated assumed  
BlueLou : 8/18/2016 12:35 pm : link
Sheppard was just a camp body... given that Robinson got a good bit more "coin", Brinkley also got more and was a returning starter, and the fact that Sheppard has kicked around the league some - the Giants being his 4th team now entering his 6th season.

I disagreed mostly because I liked him coming out, liked his tackle stats last year, and the fact that he has started well more than half his games played in the NFL.

Right now he's better than an even odds bet to start vs Dallas at Mike.

What's more, he has the headphones on the first team base D, and also as the nickel package Mike.

So apparently the Giants see him as more than a 2 down thumper like Brinkley (the other Mike who has a headset in the base D.)

Casillas in a one on one interview with O'Hara on Giants.com said that HE had the headphones in last year's nickel D but has relinquished that role to Sheppard, and much preferred it that way. Casillas said "it's a lot [of responsibility] and having NEVER DONE IT before during 7 years in the league it was a bit much for him last year."

Apparently Sheppard, who has worked with different DCs every year for the last 6 years takes great pride in being able to handle it...

McAdoo had this to say about Sheppard yesterday:

Quote:

Kelvin is an instinctive guy that gets football,” coach Ben McAdoo said. “He’s been around, played a lot, veteran guy. We feel that he’s right there in the mix, has a chance to earn the job."


Sheppard is going to make this team, and probably start.
i thought sheppard would end up  
area junc : 8/18/2016 2:26 pm : link
starting at WLB but it appears Spags is a Casillas guy and he did look good running behind that DLine.

now i agree, it appears he has an edge on Brinkley. both are old school MLBs but Sheppard is smarter, more vocal and more into the leadership aspect of the position. Brinkley is probably a cut with Goodson the #2 imo

sucks for brinkley because he really seems to enjoy playing here and he probably thought he was going to be our starting MIKE LB for most of this offseason
I'll just keep repeating this for the next two weeks:  
Big Blue Blogger : 8/18/2016 2:49 pm : link
J.T. Thomas is the veteran linebacker on the bubble with Herzlich. He hasn't taken a snap this year, was dinged most of 2015 and made very little impact when he did play. The handwriting has been on the wall since the team moved Robinson to the weakside. You know things look bad for a player when he loses his job to Keenan Robinson based on durability, of all things.

Brinkley will almost certainly make the team. He may not start, but he'll be an important backup and he, Harrison and Hankins will be the heart of the short-yardage / goal-line defense.

Brinkley is a limited player, in part because of the knee injury in college and the hip that ended his the 2011 season. But he's the only true run-stuffer on the LB corps, while Thomas doesn't do anything particularly well.
brinkley's the only true run stuffer?  
area junc : 8/18/2016 3:14 pm : link
that's what sheppard does too. there is really no reason to keep both since Goodson should be the backup.

I'm in full agreement J.T.Thomas is gone. Robinson and Casillas will be the WLBs IMO.

Kennard/Herzlich
Sheppard/Goodson
Casillas/Robinson

there is no reason to keep more than 6 LBs
OK - I thought you meant they would keep Thomas and cut Brinkley.  
Big Blue Blogger : 8/18/2016 3:21 pm : link
Your scenario is possible if Goodson is ready to contribute. Otherwise, your roster gives them only four LBs they trust to play defense - one of whom (Casillas) is built like a safety and should only play in nickel and dime packages. That's awfully thin.
The other angle to look at  
Randy in CT : 8/18/2016 3:26 pm : link
with the LB position is STs and who can contribute. Your backups need to be able to contribute there.
As for Kelvin Sheppard's credentials as a run-stuffer:  
Big Blue Blogger : 8/18/2016 3:31 pm : link
Quote:
PFF rated Sheppard as the 84th linebacker in the league with a a paltry 38.8 grade. He was horrible against the run, rating out at 34.8 and only marginally better in coverage at 40.9.

We all take PFF with heaps of salt, but in this case, their assessment seems consistent with the consensus in Miami.
phinfanatic on Sheppard - ( New Window )
RE: I'll just keep repeating this for the next two weeks:  
BlueLou : 8/18/2016 3:35 pm : link
In comment 13076292 Big Blue Blogger said:
Quote:
J.T. Thomas is the veteran linebacker on the bubble with Herzlich. He hasn't taken a snap this year, was dinged most of 2015 and made very little impact when he did play. The handwriting has been on the wall since the team moved Robinson to the weakside. You know things look bad for a player when he loses his job to Keenan Robinson based on durability, of all things.

Brinkley will almost certainly make the team. He may not start, but he'll be an important backup and he, Harrison and Hankins will be the heart of the short-yardage / goal-line defense.

Brinkley is a limited player, in part because of the knee injury in college and the hip that ended his the 2011 season. But he's the only true run-stuffer on the LB corps, while Thomas doesn't do anything particularly well.


While I agree with your conclusion that Thomas and Herz are the 2 vets on the bubble, from Pro Football reference's stats I don't see how you can say he was hurt most of 2015. According to their data they had him playing in 12 games last year with 11 starts... the problem was he didn't produce for us.

At Jacksonville in 2014 he played in 16 and started 11, with 2 ints, 5 PD, 2 FF, 1 FR, 1 TD, 51 tackles and 34 assists...

For us in 2015 he played in 12 w 10 starts: no info re pass defense, 0 FF, 0 FR, 27 tackles and 16 assists...

In about the same PT he had at Jax, he produced about half as much.


So yeah he's likely on the bubble this year...
RE: The other angle to look at  
Big Blue Blogger : 8/18/2016 3:37 pm : link
Randy in CT said:
Quote:
with the LB position is STs and who can contribute. Your backups need to be able to contribute there.

Any linebacker who dresses is likely to at least play on coverage units, and most are competent because it's reasonably close to their primary job. Some (Herzlich, Casillas) will be better than others (Brinkley?); but it's not like WRs or RBs where you have some guys who excel and others who are total non-factors on special teams.
RE: RE: I'll just keep repeating this for the next two weeks:  
RicFlair : 8/18/2016 3:39 pm : link
In comment 13076376 BlueLou said:
Quote:
In comment 13076292 Big Blue Blogger said:


Quote:


J.T. Thomas is the veteran linebacker on the bubble with Herzlich. He hasn't taken a snap this year, was dinged most of 2015 and made very little impact when he did play. The handwriting has been on the wall since the team moved Robinson to the weakside. You know things look bad for a player when he loses his job to Keenan Robinson based on durability, of all things.

Brinkley will almost certainly make the team. He may not start, but he'll be an important backup and he, Harrison and Hankins will be the heart of the short-yardage / goal-line defense.

Brinkley is a limited player, in part because of the knee injury in college and the hip that ended his the 2011 season. But he's the only true run-stuffer on the LB corps, while Thomas doesn't do anything particularly well.



While I agree with your conclusion that Thomas and Herz are the 2 vets on the bubble, from Pro Football reference's stats I don't see how you can say he was hurt most of 2015. According to their data they had him playing in 12 games last year with 11 starts... the problem was he didn't produce for us.

At Jacksonville in 2014 he played in 16 and started 11, with 2 ints, 5 PD, 2 FF, 1 FR, 1 TD, 51 tackles and 34 assists...

For us in 2015 he played in 12 w 10 starts: no info re pass defense, 0 FF, 0 FR, 27 tackles and 16 assists...

In about the same PT he had at Jax, he produced about half as much.


So yeah he's likely on the bubble this year...



I'm pretty sure he was playing MLB at Jacksonville though, usually rack up more tackles in that position.
BlueLou: IIRC, Thomas was affected by the ankle from Week 7 on.  
Big Blue Blogger : 8/18/2016 3:46 pm : link
He deserves some credit for gutting it out, but he never got back to 100% and finally went on IR.
Meanwhile, contrast Sheppard's run grades with Brinkley's:  
Big Blue Blogger : 8/18/2016 3:53 pm : link
Quote:
Five linebackers played more than 400 snaps for the Giants in 2015. Jasper Brinkley (66.5 overall grade) was the most effective, but still wasn’t a good starter. While he was dominant against the run (94.7 grade), he really struggled in coverage (41.7).

So, even with the usual disclaimers about PFF sucking donkey balls, I think it's fair to call Brinkley the run-stuffer of the group.
PFF: Assessing the Giants' rebuilt defense - ( New Window )
RE: As for Kelvin Sheppard's credentials as a run-stuffer:  
area junc : 8/18/2016 5:39 pm : link
In comment 13076360 Big Blue Blogger said:
Quote:


Quote:


PFF rated Sheppard as the 84th linebacker in the league with a a paltry 38.8 grade. He was horrible against the run, rating out at 34.8 and only marginally better in coverage at 40.9.


We all take PFF with heaps of salt, but in this case, their assessment seems consistent with the consensus in Miami. phinfanatic on Sheppard - ( New Window )


So PFF has concluded he's better in coverage than against the run? brilliant
B^3, how certain are you the author of that article is a  
BlueLou : 8/18/2016 7:01 pm : link
"second source" validating the PFF conclusion?

He runs a website and the article is from Fansided... and it seems he's drawing on PFF's data to validate (or perhaps even inform) his opinion...

Even he says Sheppard played much better his last 3 games and "maybe he finally figured out how to play in the Dolphins's system".

Dude is a life long paramedic, not a coach or scout or former plsyer, coach, or scout.

How does a guy get over 100 tackles, with 13 TFL, and grade out so poorly?

Someone pointed out that the Giants haven't had an LB produce like KS did last year in decades.
RE: B^3, how certain are you the author of that article is a  
Big Blue Blogger : 8/18/2016 10:44 pm : link
BlueLou said:
Quote:
"second source" validating the PFF conclusion?

He runs a website and the article is from Fansided... and it seems he's drawing on PFF's data to validate (or perhaps even inform) his opinion...

I was just using that article as an easy way to access the PFF grades, not as a source of independent corroboration.
BlueLou: you've been misinformed about Sheppard's stats  
Big Blue Blogger : 8/18/2016 11:00 pm : link
BlueLou said:
Quote:
Someone pointed out that the Giants haven't had an LB produce like KS did last year in decades.

Barrow put up much bigger numbers in 2003, as did Pierce in 2006. FWIW, the Giants' defense sucked both of those years - mostly because of injuries - but the MIKEs made a lot of tackles.
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