I asked JasonB from BleedingGreenNation, the best Eagles blog out there about Lito Sheppard. Make sure tell your Eagles fans friends about it and to check in with BGN and tell them thanks.
TJB: From your end, do you think that the Eagles pulled one over on the Jets? Was this a win-win?
BGN: Reading the details of the deal, I really don’t think Eagles pulled anything on the Jets. It seems the Jets are well protected against Lito being a bust or getting hurt again. A 5th is probably worth finding out whether Lito can still play… and if he can then a 2nd is fair compensation. I don’t think the trade as it stands now is a “win-win” but it could be. Right now it’s a “wait and see” for both sides. After I really saw the details of the trade, I think that at the moment the Jets might have gotten the better of the deal at the moment simply because they’ve proteced themselves very well.
TJB: Explain what the dispute was between Lito Sheppard and the team. Was it solely contract related?
BGN:The Eagles signed Lito to a long term extension a few years into his rookie deal. He went on to make a couple pro bowls and decided that he had outperformed that contract. The Eagles position was that he signed a fair deal that still had several years left and they saw no reason to re-open negotiations. Plus, at this time Lito started having injury issues. Since 2005 he hasn’t been able to play a full season. He stayed healthy in 2008, but then again he played very little. The Eagles simply didn’t feel Lito had earned a raise, he did.
TJB: When I hear the name Lito Sheppard, my first thought is “good corner” but over the past few years Sheppard’s playing time has diminished substantially … was this due to player / management squabbles or does he have some holes in his game?
BGN:Well #1 is injuries. Since 2005 he’s missed 14 games(not including a few playoff games he missed) and he’s played hobbled in may of the games that he was dressed for. The injuries certainly seemed to play a part in his sruggles over the past 4 years. Plus, I think it would be foolish to say that his unhappiness hasn’t played a part. He stayed healthy last year but really played poorly when he did have a chance to get in the game. In fact, by midseason he had been demoted to the 4th corner spot. He was upset about his contract, upset at being demoted, and I think he was also upset at not being traded least year. Despite the injuries, I don’t believe that at 27 Lito Sheppard became a bad corner. I absolutely believe he was dogging it a bit and that his issues with the team affected his play. That said, he never really made a big public issue out of his unhappiness.
Now, that doesn’t speak a whole lot to his character… but I think it should give Jets fans some hope that this guy could ressurect himself with a change of scenery. Like I said, I don’t believe he just became a bad corner and now that he’s literally got a big contract waiting for him if he plays well I think he might be motivated to have a good year.
TJB: Where does Sheppard work the best? Press coverage? Deep in space … etc.
BGN: He’s definitely not a physical corner, his game is to use his speed and his ability to read the QB. He’s got good ball skills and when he was in pro bowl form he had great make up speed and solid leapiing ability. Plus, he’s got a real knack for the big play at the big moment.