So wait, let me get this straight – Lito Sheppard isn’t happy with his contract? Hold on just one second – he isn’t starting? And he started taking jabs at the organization about all of this again? Well, slap me silly and call me Cletus, I had no idea (Editor’s note: The Pundit is into some weird shit).
As usual, Lito is stoking the media fire, apparently in an attempt to either get the team to trade him or to renegotiate his contract. His tactics, as John Gonzalez enlightens us, are the stuff of schoolyard lure.
Remember back in the day when you wanted to fight someone at school? You almost never called the guy out face-to-face. You used intermediaries. You talked trash about your adversary through the grapevine until he didn’t have a choice. Jimmy picks his nose. Jimmy was adopted. Jimmy plays with Barbies and listens to show tunes.
Now, I see what Mr. Gonzalez is doing here. Clever, really. See, he’s saying that Lito is being childish (Editor’s note: If you had just gotten hit in the face with a brick, the Pundit would smugly “inform” you that you had just gotten hit in the face with a brick. You know, just in case you were unaware). I remember such days, days of childish games, days where not much mattered so the smallest happenings became newsworthy.
Ohmigosh, did you hear what Johnny is saying about Jimmy? He’s saying he likes show tunes. No, I don’t know which show tunes. I mean, if you really need to know, some from Grease I guess. Ohmigosh, I know, John Travolta is sooooo cute. Oh, I don’t know what its really all about, something about how Johnny doesn’t think Jimmy is playing fair out on the playground. Well, obviously Jimmy doesn’t agree, and so they started arguing about it, and now Johnny is even saying he was adopted. No, I’ve seen Jimmy’s parents, they aren’t wolves. Oh, who cares who’s right. I haven’t even really thought about it – I’ve been too busy giggling about what Johnny is saying about Jimmy.
Well, The Pundit isn’t giggling. Fact is, I wasn’t surprised that the Eagles were reluctant to renegotiate a deal with Lito. After all, they’re reluctant to renegotiate with anyone, aren’t they? Only Brian Westbrook seems able to win a showdown with them, and there are two primary reasons for it: Westbrook is not only the key to the offense, but one of the best offensive weapons in football. That’s number one. Number two is simple: everyone knows it. Westbrook easily defeats the Eagles in the court of public opinion, no doubt about it.
Lito, however, is not so lucky.
After all, he is injury prone. In the last three seasons, Sheppard has missed 14 games. But in the 34 games he has played, he has put up fairly solid numbers – 11 interceptions, 1 returned for a touchdown, with 33 passes deflected. In 2006, he picked off 6 passes and deflected 19 in 13 games, leading to his second Pro Bowl selection (2004 was the other).
So, Lito is solid when he is healthy but tends to get injured, meaning the Eagles aren’t quite willing to sign him to a long-term deal. That seems fair to me. However, if they aren’t going to trade him, a simple question lingers: should Lito be starting over Sheldon Brown? (Editor’s note: Obviously, after luring Asante Samuel from the Patriots with a cool 57 mil, the Eagles plan on starting him).
Sheldon Brown, in the same three years we used to analyze Lito, put up the following numbers: 48 games played, 8 interceptions, 49 passes deflected, 2 defensive touchdowns. Fact is, Sheldon Brown has never missed a game, though in his six year career, he has 13 total interceptions, a whopping two more than the total Lito Sheppard put in his past 34 games. Granted, Brown is more durable and had a high number of pass deflections.
Those are the numbers. But I know why you’re really here: what is The Pundit’s gut telling him? (Editor’s note: No more kielbasa from that sandwich joint in North Philly). Throw out any potential argument that Sheldon Brown is more used to playing his side of the field; I played corner, and though it was only high school ball, you adjust fairly quickly to either side you are playing on. Besides, these guys aren’t going to always be locked into one side. In my opinion, when Lito is on the field, I think he’s the better corner of the two. It’s a tough comparison: Lito is more flashy and will get you picks. Sheldon is steady, a big hitter, and normally ends up around the ball. I think Lito is a slightly better man corner; I think Sheldon is more physical.
Verdict: The Eagles are right in waiting to resign Lito, though if they can get a really sweet deal for him (which seems unlikely), I think they should take it. So, if Lito’s hanging around, I think he should be the starter. I understand that all of these guys are going to see a lot of time, but I truly believe Lito is better. Arguments are certainly encouraged.
Oh, great, the Eagles are going to appeal. Here’s their side: Hey, Lito Sheppard already isn’t happy with us. He may not be an Eagle after this year. But, no matter what happens with Lito, Sheldon Brown is still going to be here. Why piss off two guys, when you can just piss off the one who may be gone soon anyway?
Because you do what gives you the best chance to win. Sheldon is a big boy; he can deal with it. He’ll would be getting almost as many snaps anyway.
Oh, and from what I hear, Jimmy is a huge fan of Rent. (Editor’s note: I totally knew he was a little bitch).