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Inside The Bills

Shep’s run ‘D’ targets

Posted by Chris Brown on July 15, 2012 – 9:49 am

In our exclusive 1-on-1 interview with Kelvin Sheppard we asked him if there was payback on the minds of Buffalo’s defenders heading into this season after taking their lumps the last few years in terms of stopping the run. Shep said they took notes as to who dished it out to them the worst.

As we profiled in our #10 feature in our Top 25 Questions until Training Camp series, ‘Will the 4-3 mean better run defense?’ Shep stated that he believes all the teams that have run over Buffalo’s defense the last few seasons are all on their schedule this year. So we went and looked statistically at the top 5 AFC clubs that have rolled up the rushing yards more than any other on the Bills AND have played against the Bills at least twice in the past three seasons (2009-2011).

Guess what? Shep is on the mark. They’re all on the 2012 schedule. Here’s the rankings list.

1 – New York Jets – Average of 230 rushing yards per game in their last six meetings with the Bills gaining 5.7 yards per carry, 7 TDs and 33 carries of 10 yards or more.

2 – Tennessee Titans – Average of 177.5 rushing yards per game in their two meetings with the Bills and a 5.4 yards per carry avg., 4 TDs and 13 carries of 10 yards or more.

3 – Kansas City – Average of 175.6 rushing yards per game in their three meetings with the Bills and a 5.9 yards per carry avg., 1 TD and 17 carries of 10 yards or more.

4 – Miami – Average of 159 rushing yards per game in their six meetings with the Bills, a 4.5 yards per carry avg., 8 TDs and 21 carries of 10 plus yards.

5 – Jacksonville – Average of 159 rushing yards per game in their three meetings with Buffalo, a 4.3 yards per carry avg., 1 TD and 10 carries of 10 plus yards.

Knowing the Jets have an added run dimension in Tim Tebow makes the opener all the more intriguing and the fact that almost 20 percent of the Chiefs carries against the Bills over their last three meetings have gone for 10 yards or more (17 out of 90 - 18.8%) will make for a very interesting home opener knowing Jamaal Charles is back healthy.


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Why good is no longer good enough

Posted by Chris Brown on July 9, 2012 – 9:37 am

For the Bills the past couple of years has been about becoming a good team. Now they want to be better than that.

According to Kelvin Sheppard in his exclusive 1-on-1 interview with Buffalobills.com, Sheppard emphasized why good is no longer good enough for this team.

“It won’t be good enough or accepted from the players or the coaches,” Sheppard told Buffalobills.com. “On the defensive side and with Fitzpatrick and those guys it’s the same on offense. I know myself last year and they say it went on years before that. When guys have a good game and say, ‘Oh good job. That was good. That was good.’ But hey, how many rings do we have up here? How many banners have we hung up here being good or average?

“So once you take it to that next step is what my coach Bob Sanders preaches to me all the time. He’ll tell me, ‘Hey Shep you had a really good practice, but I’m scared to tell you that because once you think you’re good you get complacent.’ That’s where the failure starts to occur so you always strive to be great. No one is ever going to be perfect, so if you strive for that perfection you have no choice but to succeed.”


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Shep sitting

Posted by Chris Brown on June 20, 2012 – 2:19 pm

Bills MLB Kelvin Sheppard was participating in individual position drills, but he’s a spectator now.

Shep is not getting reps in team work. We’ll try to get an update after practice.


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No escape for Shep

Posted by Chris Brown on June 8, 2012 – 9:16 am

Kelvin Sheppard has been hard at work mastering Dave Wannstedt’s 4-3 defense during Bills OTAs. And if he’s ever got a question, even when he’s at home, he won’t have to go far to get an answer from his defensive coordinator.

“Coach Wannstedt is great. He’s a great guy and a great players coach,” said Sheppard. “I’m a lot more familiar to a lot of the guys in the defense because I was actually in the linebacker room because he was the linebacker coach last year so he’s a great guy. We actually live across the street from each other so he’s my neighbor. He’s already reminding me of that (I can’t get away from him).”

Sheppard as a rookie would also frequent Nick Barnett’s house to go over film during the season.


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Shep studying Zach Thomas tape

Posted by Chris Brown on June 6, 2012 – 10:57 am

He was a seven-time Pro Bowler and five-time 1st Team All-Pro. Add in the fact that he played the same position in the same exact defensive scheme as Kelvin Sheppard will be in charge of and there are too many good reasons why Shep is going to be taking a closer look at Zach Thomas game tape very soon.

“I haven’t got around to all that yet,” said Sheppard in a Wednesday morning appearance on Bills flagship WGR Sportsradio 550. “I just checked out a couple of Zach Thomas tapes so far. When I go back home to Atlanta and I’m training down there I’ll have time to really go into detail with those things. I’m trying to get our own tape down first.”

Sheppard is hoping to gain some perspective on what made Thomas so effective in Wannstedt’s scheme besides the former linebacker’s talent.

“He was a middle linebacker that had a lot of success in this exact same scheme,” said Sheppard. “He was a Pro Bowler and All-Pro guy who had a lot of success. It’s not that I want to be Zach Thomas or duplicate what he did, but being around this game I know if a guy is having success and is doing things right for a long time you want to check out what they did, especially if they’re playing in the exact same scheme that you’re playing in.”


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No excuses for Shep

Posted by Chris Brown on June 6, 2012 – 10:45 am

Whether it was being deprived of OTAs and minicamp practices last offseason due to the lockout or being thrust into the starting MLB role in Buffalo’s defense, Kelvin Sheppard refuses to have any excuses. He just wants to be ready to play and run Dave Wannstedt’s defense.

Appearing on Bills flagship WGR Sportsradio 550, Sheppard never wants to give himself an out for not performing or executing at his best. For that matter neither does his linebacker coach.

“Of course I’m a second-year player, but that gives me no excuses,” said Sheppard. “My linebackers coach Bob Sanders told me the first day of OTAs that he doesn’t care what everybody else says like, ‘I messed up, I’m a second-year player.’ That’s out the window. I’m the starting middle linebacker so my job is to know all of my assignments as well as those of my teammates. So I’m kind of the general on the field.”

Fortunately for Sheppard, the 4-3 defense he ran at LSU as their MLB is pretty similar to the one he’s now in charge of lining up in Buffalo.

“I’ve worked and played in this defense pretty much my whole career so I’m really familiar with the schemes,” he said.

 


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Shep on the radio

Posted by Chris Brown on June 5, 2012 – 4:17 pm

Bills MLB Kelvin Sheppard will be on the local radio airwaves Wednesday. Here’s where you can find him.

Kelvin Sheppard – The Howard Simon Show; WGR 550 @ 8:45 AM


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CB Brooks already heard from Shep

Posted by Chris Brown on April 28, 2012 – 1:20 pm

Bills second 4th-round pick Ron Brooks, a cornerback from LSU, has already heard from former college teammate and current Bills MLB Kelvin Sheppard.

“My phone’s been blowing up,” said Brooks. “I talked to (Kelvin) Sheppard and he was telling me he hoped I got picked by Buffalo. I’m definitely excited to go somewhere where I have a teammate that plays on the defensive side that can help me learn the in’s and the out’s of the defense and hopefully get me started even quicker and hit the ground running.”

Sheppard and Brooks were teammates for three seasons at LSU.


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Wannstedt high on Shep at MLB

Posted by Chris Brown on February 16, 2012 – 5:23 pm

While Bills defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt was clear in saying they need to add pass rush talent at the end position and make sure they have three fast linebackers in their new 4-3 scheme, he’s more than fine with the guy he’s got penciled in at MLB in Kelvin Sheppard.

“I’ve got all the confidence in the world with Shep being the middle linebacker,” said Wannstedt. “To me he’s about what you’re looking for in a 4-3 middle linebacker. He did a great job (last year). He really, I thought, got better and better as the year went on. He became more confident and quicker and now he’s got to play in the box and doesn’t need to play on the edge as much. I think it’s going to fit his skills to a ‘T’. I think he’s going to be a very, very productive player for us.”

Sheppard played MLB in a 4-3 at LSU in college, so he should feel right at home in the middle of Buffalo’s defense this fall.


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More All-Rookie honors

Posted by Chris Brown on January 11, 2012 – 10:45 am

Kelvin Sheppard joined Marcell Dareus in earning some more All-Rookie honors.

This time from Pro Football Focus. The film reviewers and stat crunchers wrote the following about two members of Buffalo’s 2011 draft class.

Defensive Tackles: Marcell Dareus, BUF & Jurrell Casey, TEN
For the hybrid scheme we’re using the flexibility of Dareus (who played far more 4-3 than 3-4), while having a disruptor like Casey is never a bad thing. The third overall pick of the 2011 draft, Dareus looked dominant at times and invisible at others so the best is likely yet to come from him. Casey went a long way to helping the Titans transition to a new style of defensive line and it be a success. Only three players made more defensive stops in the run game from the DT spot.

Middle Linebacker: Kelvin Sheppard, BUF
The MLB lacks a little depth but Sheppard had success in Buffalo as a two down player, particularly in run defense. Owes a lot of that to solid tackling where his Tackle Efficiency rating of 44 was the highest of all inside linebackers in the league.


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Barnett going to Pack playoff game

Posted by Chris Brown on January 6, 2012 – 9:22 am

Bills ILB Nick Barnett has plans to take in the Packers Divisional playoff game the weekend of Jan. 14th, and he’ll be bringing a teammate with him.

Barnett shared as much on his twitter account after being asked by a Packers fan if he’d be back in town anytime soon.

 NickBarnett@PackerFans56: @NickBarnett Are you going to make it back to Green Bay anytime soon?”–be there for the game..
 
Barnett spent the first eight years of his career with the Packers. Then Barnett revealed that he’d have a young teammate going with him.
 
NickBarnett Bringing @KelvinSheppard to the game as well… Should be a interesting time in Greenbay
 
Got to wonder if Barnett wants to expose his young teammate to the NFL playoff atmosphere and give him a taste of it all hoping to motivate him all the more to help Buffalo get there.

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Dareus & Shep give BCS Champ preview

Posted by Chris Brown on January 5, 2012 – 1:04 pm

Check out Marcell Dareus and Kelvin Sheppard as they put their analyst hats on and preview the BCS National Championship game between their two schools Alabama and LSU.

Dareus and Sheppard take a look back at the first meeting won by LSU 9-6 and then assess the advantages for each squad, make their picks for the game. Both plan to head down to New Orleans to be there to watch it Tuesday. The part they didn’t figure out yet is if they’ll actually sit together or not.


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Opposing QB numbers

Posted by Chris Brown on November 15, 2011 – 12:57 pm

NFL quarterbacks that have faced the Bills through the first nine games of the season have thrown a lot of interceptions, but they’ve also completed a high percentage of passes. Here’s a look as to just how much success opposing QBs have had against Buffalo.

Opposing quarterbacks have completed 65.7% of their passes against the Bills. That’s the second-highest percentage in the league. Only Indianapolis has allowed a higher percentage (70.9%). The last two weeks Mark Sanchez and Tony Romo combined for a completion percentage of 79.6% (43-54). Buffalo has also allowed the second-most first downs this season via the pass (125), and are tied for the highest first down percentage allowed passing (40.5%) with Indy.

A lot of Bills fans believe it’s the pass rush, which ranks 27th with 15 sacks this year, but if you ask the players it’s everything.

“Pressure, coverage, tackling, everything we do on defense needed to be better,” said Drayton Florence. “That sense of urgency throughout the whole game just wasn’t there (Sunday).”

“It’s more so people running wide open down the field and that can’t happen on this level or any level for that matter,” said Kelvin Sheppard. “You can’t point fingers at nobody. It’s a collective effort. We know that it’s got to stop now, point blank.”


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Shep excited about increased role

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2011 – 5:29 pm

Bills rookie LB Kelvin Sheppard is excited about his increased role in Buffalo’s front seven. Head coach Chan Gailey confirmed earlier in the week that while he might not be starting he’d see the majority of the work at the inside linebacker spot next to Nick Barnett.

“That’s what I came here for to make an impact and contribute to what we’re trying to make a Super Bowl championship team,” said Sheppard. “I got my first real taste of a lot of snaps this past ball game so it’s time to take that and move on.”

In reviewing the tape from the Giants game, Sheppard said he graded out pretty well.

“It was actually pretty good,” he said. “It was pretty clean for the game. We didn’t come out with a win so there were some things we could improve on. There were a couple of snaps in there, a couple of minor things, but nothing big where it was like, ‘Whoa, wait a minute am I making a mistake?’ There were a couple of minor things and I take it and learn from it and get ready for the next opponent.”


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Bills at New Era store in Toronto

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2011 – 3:10 pm

A number of Bills players will be making an appearance to meet fans at the New Era store in Toronto on Mon. Oct. 24th.

The Bills and New Era will host a meet-and-greet appearance with select Buffalo Bills players WR Stevie Johnson, LB Nick Barnett, RB CJ Spiller, LB Kelvin Sheppard and DT Torell Troup will take photos and sign autographs for invited guests. They’ll be at the New Era Flagship store at 202 Queen Street West in Toronto.  The event will take place from 7:00 – 8:30 pm.

Guests will also have the opportunity to win autographed team merchandise and tickets to the 2011 Bills Toronto Series game between the Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins on Sunday, October 30th at 4:05 pm at Rogers Centre.

 

To receive an invite for this contest, fans must message @new_era_caps via twitter and include the #BillsinTOR.  Randomly selected fans will receive an invitation to attend this special event.


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Shep grateful for vets support

Posted by Chris Brown on October 17, 2011 – 4:13 pm

Bills rookie LB Kelvin Sheppard, who is closing in on landing a starting role at ILB, even now can’t believe his good fortune being surrounded by veteran linebackers that aren’t afraid to take the time to share their knowledge of the game with him.

Andra Davis and Nick Barnett have been instrumental in tutoring the inexperienced but sharp LSU product. From the very beginning they valued him as a future contributor and now that the day for that to happen is coming quickly, Sheppard is glad he’s seen as more than a wide-eyed rookie.

“It’s good,” Sheppard told Buffalobills.com. “It just feels good to be in a locker room where I’m not just viewed as a rookie. I’m viewed as a guy that is having an impact on my team.”


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LB Morrison out for Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on September 23, 2011 – 12:07 pm

It looks like Terrence McGee (hamstring) and Kraig Urbik (knee) won’t be the only players out for Sunday’s game against the Patriots.

LB Kirk Morrison, who sustained a hamstring injury last week did not practice on Wednesday and Thursday this week and has been declared out for Sunday’s game. Morrison did practice sparingly Friday during individual position drills, but is only now just getting back into the swing of things.

Morrison’s absence could mean rookie Kelvin Sheppard could see some time on the field defensively this week in certain subpackages.


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Shep good with debut

Posted by Chris Brown on September 1, 2011 – 11:02 pm

For Kelvin Sheppard his NFL dream was finally realized Thursday night against the Lions. By the end of the game he was the team’s leading tackler and had a pass breakup to his credit.

“It felt good,” said Sheppard of his NFL debut after missing the first three preseason games with a hamstring injury. “It’s a difference compared to the past two weeks just practicing going against your own teammates. It’s not the same. Being able to line up across from guys in another jersey that you don’t know, having a game plan for those guys and just going out there and doing what I love to do. This game was what I was working for my whole life to actually step on an NFL field in a game, so I just have to take whatever happened and move forward from it.”

For Sheppard the instincts came right back not long after he got on the field.

“After the first hit, it’s like, ‘Okay it’s just football. Let’s not make it more than what it is,’” he said. “But at the same time respect the game.”

What Sheppard has appreciated the most is the support he’s received from those that have years of NFL games under their belt. 

“I have great coaches, great teammates, the veterans here Andra Davis, Nick Barnett, I don’t think they missed a play,” said Sheppard. “Whenever I was on the field it was like, ‘Yeah Shep you could’ve got there a little quicker, but way to be physical.’ Just hearing things like that gives you a ton of confidence knowing that you’re not out there by yourself. Good teammates, good coaches that are there for you.”

So for a first go of it, Sheppard wasn’t satisfied, but believes Thursday night was something he can build upon.

“I felt pretty good,” he said. “You can always improve, but with it being my first game I felt pretty good.”


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Shep, Merriman out for tonight

Posted by Chris Brown on August 27, 2011 – 4:05 pm

The Bills coaching staff has decided to err on the side of caution with Kelvin Sheppard and Shawne Merriman.

Buffalobills.com has learned that both Sheppard and Merriman will not dress for tonight’s game. Head coach Chan Gailey has said that with the shortened offseason taking every precaution would be the approach. Merriman has been plagued by a tight groin, while Sheppard is still not fully recovered from a hamstring injury.


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Shep being smart w/hamstring

Posted by Chris Brown on August 26, 2011 – 8:44 am

Kelvin Sheppard returned to the practice field earlier this week off a nagging hamstring injury that cost him almost all of training camp. Though he desperately wants to play Saturday against Jacksonville, he’s fighting that urge and trying to be smart in the final stages of healing.

“You’ve just got to be careful because you don’t want to rush into it and then look back and say you should’ve waited,” Sheppard told Buffalobills.com. “I’ve been wanting to get back out there ASAP, but it wouldn’t have been the smartest thing to do. It’s a collective effort between myself, the training staff and the coaches to get together and do what’s right, not only for myself but for the team too. Whatever they want is what I’ll do.”

Sheppard said in practice the athletic training staff was keeping a watchful eye on him to keep him from going all out this week.

“They just tell me to make sure I go at a pace that’s moderate and not go out there and open it up and do something crazy,” he said. “We’re approaching the third preseason game and we’re going to blink our eyes and be headed down to Kansas City. I don’t want to have any regrets about anything.”

So while Sheppard remains a question mark for Saturday night’s game, he does feel his hamstring is very close to being sound for anything and everything.

“It’s definitely improving and that’s helping me a lot physically and in my mind knowing it’s getting better and that we’re almost there,” he said. “We just have to take that final step.”


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