Saturday, July 22, 2006

Sheppard's Progression On Schedule

BETHLEHEM, PA -- Each day it's apparent that Lito Sheppard is more comfortable on the football field. Sheppard's return from a severe high ankle sprain that cost him the final six games of last season, will be a key for the Eagles.
In 2004 he earned a Pro Bowl berth and if healthy, Sheppard and Sheldon Brown will form one of the top cornerback tandems in the NFL.
Sheppard didn't have as good a season in 2005, even before the injury, but part of the problem was that the Eagles defensive line often left the corners on an island with such a weak pass rush. The rush should be improved this year, and so should Sheppard.
On the second day that selected veterans and rookies worked out at Lehigh, Sheppard was burned for a long TD reception by Justin Jenkins in a 7-on-7 drill. A few plays later, Sheppard came back to make an off-balanced interception.
Sheppard will gladly accept being burned deep in a drill and with his gambling style, he knows it won't be the last time. He said he isn't 100 percent but hopes to be by the regular season. At Lehigh, he was happy to see that receivers such as Jenkins weren't shying away from the challenge.
"I encourage him to keep coming at me and I need that," Sheppard said. "They aren’t going to shy away from me when the season starts, so I need all the work I can get."
And now is the time to get the work and also get burned because nobody keeps score in training camp.


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