Kelvin Sheppard

Lions To Hire Todd Wash, Kelvin Sheppard

Todd Wash spent eight seasons with the Jaguars, rising to the role of defensive coordinator in Gus Bradley‘s final season and keeping that job throughout Doug Marrone‘s ensuing tenure. Following the Jags’ decision to reboot around Urban Meyer, Wash has located a landing spot.

The Lions are hiring Wash as their defensive line coach, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Additionally, Detroit will add former linebacker Kelvin Sheppard — whose eight-year career ended with the Lions — as a defensive assistant and Seth Ryan as their assistant wide receivers coach. Seth is Rex Ryan‘s son.

Prior to becoming Jacksonville’s DC in 2016, Wash was an NFL D-line coach for the previous eight seasons. He followed Bradley from Seattle to Jacksonville in 2013, previously serving as the Seahawks’ D-line coach from 2011-12. Wash, 52, will work under first-time coordinator Aaron Glenn.

Wash’s Jacksonville tenure became complicated once the franchise began stripping parts from its dominant defense in 2019. Behind their “Sacksonville” defensive line, Jaguars led the NFL in defensive DVOA in 2017. Wash’s defense had the team on the precipice of Super Bowl LII. Despite the Jags’ 3-13 record in 2016, they ranked sixth in total defense. In 2018, the last season in which Wash’s unit had its host of high-end cogs, the Jaguars boasted a top-five defense.

After the franchise gutted the group over the next two years, its effectiveness predictably worsened. Amid its 15-game losing streak, the 2020 Jags edition allowed a franchise-record 492 points. By Week 17, only Myles Jack was left from Jacksonville’s 2017 defense.

A 2011 third-round Bills pick, Sheppard played for five teams through the 2018 season. He started 63 games, primarily for the Bills and Dolphins, in that span and landed with Detroit for the second half of the ’18 slate. Seth Ryan, just 26, spent the past two years as a quality control staffer with the Chargers.

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Lions Sign LB Kelvin Sheppard

The Lions signed linebacker Kelvin Sheppard, according to a team announcement. Sheppard will fill the roster spot left vacant by Tuesday’s Golden Tate trade

Sheppard worked out for the Lions earlier this week – his first audition since meeting with Detroit in late July. The 30-year-old linebacker was a three-year starter with the Giants from 2015-17 but has been a free agent all offseason. He’s just the latest ex-Giants front seven member to join the Lions and he’ll reunite with former teammates Damon Harrison and Devon Kennard in Detroit.

Sheppard played with the Bills, Colts, Dolphins, and Giants over the course of his seven-year career. He notched a 102-tackle season with the Giants in 2015 and intercepted two passes — the first two of his career — despite being a midseason Big Blue addition last year.

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NFL Workout Updates: 10/30/18

Here’s the latest from the workout circuit. All links to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account, unless otherwise specified.

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

LB Kelvin Sheppard Visiting Lions

The Lions are checking in on Kelvin Sheppard. Again. The free agent linebacker visited the Lions in July but is back again for another meeting, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).

Sheppard is not believed to have participated in a workout or a visit since the late-July meeting in Detroit. It’s not certain if the Lions were again working out Sheppard, as they did over the summer, or if this was a follow-up visit. The Lions have been the only team connected to Sheppard this offseason.

The 30-year-old linebacker was a three-year starter with the Giants from 2015-17 but has been a free agent all offseason. Detroit signed former Sheppard teammate Devon Kennard to a high-end deal earlier this offseason. Jarrad Davis played through a calf injury on Sunday after being limited during Week 8 practices.

Sheppard’s played with the Bills, Colts, Dolphins and Giants in a seven-year career. He notched a 102-tackle season with the Giants in 2015 and intercepted two passes — the first two of his career — despite being a midseason Big Blue addition last year.

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Kelvin Sheppard Working Out For Lions

Former Bills, Dolphins, and Giants linebacker Kelvin Sheppard is working out for the Lions today, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN (Twitter link).

Sheppard, 30, has made quite a few stops in his NFL career. Originially drafted in the third round by the Bills back in 2011. After a couple years there he was traded to the Colts, but released after just a season. He then signed in Miami for the next two years, and started 13 games for the Dolphins in 2015. He was a starter in 2016 with the Giants, then signed with the Bears the following offseason. He was cut before the regular season started and ended up re-signing with the Giants mid-season. A true journeyman, Sheppard will be looking to latch on with his sixth team in just eight seasons.

It’s been a quiet market so far for Sheppard, who’s drawn little known interest. Lions coach Matt Patricia should have some familiarity with Sheppard, having coached in the same division as him during his time with the Patriots while Sheppard was playing for the Bills and Dolphins. Sheppard received poor marks from Pro Football Focus in 2017, earning a low 46.5 grade, 59th among linebackers.

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Giants Notes: Darkwa, Richburg, Bromley

Although he’s drawing interest from the cross-town Jets, the Giants still want to re-sign running back Orleans Darkwa, according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com. Darkwa, 26, broke out with Big Blue in 2017, posting career-highs in starts (11), yards (751), and touchdowns (five). A former undrafted free agent out of Tulane, Darkwa had only managed 287 rushing yards in the three prior years of his NFL tenure. The Giants could conceivably lose both Darkwa and fellow free agent Shane Vereen to the open market, which would leave them with Wayne Gallman, Paul Perkins, Terrell Watson, and Jalen Simmons on their running back depth chart.

Here’s more on the Giants, all courtesy of Raanan:

  • Teams around the league are viewing Giants free agent Weston Richburg as both a center and a guard, per Raanan. Richburg has played at the pivot for the past three years, but he spend time at guard during his rookie season in 2014. Although injuries limited him to only four games in 2017, Richburg will be the best center available on the open market, leading a positional group that also includes Ryan Jensen, John Sullivan, Russell Bodine, and Travis Swanson, but he could increase his number of suitors by exhibiting versatility.
  • The Giants could field five new starters along their offensive line in 2018, a source tells Raanan. While that overhaul likely wouldn’t removing Brett Jones, who filled in for Richburg at center last season, but it would still represent a massive overhaul. Notably, changeover at all five positions would mean New York has moved on from former first-round pick, and incumbent left tackle, Ereck Flowers. Panthers guard Andrew Norwell could be part of the renovation, as Giants general manager Dave Gettleman reportedly “loves” the Carolina free agent, Raanan writes in a separate piece.
  • A number of Giants free agents are unlikely to remain with the club next year, per Raanan. Defensive lineman Jay Bromley and Kerry Wynn aren’t expected to re-sign, as neither is a good fit for new defensive coordinator James Bettcher‘s 3-4 scheme. Bromley, notably, is reportedly looking for a larger role on defense, according to Raanan, as he’s spent the majority of his career as a reserve. Linebacker Jonathan Casillas, additionally, doesn’t appear to be on the Giants’ radar, as the club is looking to get younger at the second level of its defense.
  • Gettleman will likely try to improve the Giants’ locker room culture by inking established veterans on the defensive side of the ball, and Raanan lists incumbent linebacker Kelvin Sheppard and Dolphins’ special teams ace Michael Thomas as players New York could sign for their leadership.

Giants Sign LB Kelvin Sheppard

The Giants have signed free agent linebacker Kelvin Sheppard, the club announced today.Kelvin Sheppard (vertical)

Sheppard, of course, is no stranger in New York, as he appeared in 16 games (11 starts) as the Giants’ middle linebacker in 2016. In those contests, the 29-year-old Sheppard managed 47 tackles and two passes defensed while earning poor overall marks (grade of 39.1 on a 100-point scale) from Pro Football Focus.

The Giants, though, need linebackers — both B.J. Goodson and Jonathan Casillas missed Sunday’s game against the Rams with injury, while fellow ‘backer Calvin Munson is also dealing with a nagging health question. With a record of 1-7, New York isn’t going anywhere in 2017, but Sheppard will give the club experience and familiarity as it closes out the season.

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Bears To Cut LB Kelvin Sheppard

Kelvin Sheppard will be cut by the Bears, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets. By shedding Sheppard, the Bears are inching closer to the 53-man max.

Sheppard made 30 appearances with Miami in 2014 and 2015, including 15 starts. Last year, the 29-year-old appeared in each of the Giants’ games and made eleven starts, but he finished with just 47 tackles, failed to force any turnovers, and earned a poor grade (39.1) from Pro Football Focus. He was thought to have a decent chance of sticking as veteran LB depth, but it was not meant to be.

The Bears and the league’s 31 other teams have until Saturday afternoon to reach the 53-man mandate.

Bears Sign LB Kelvin Sheppard

The Bears announced that they have signed linebacker Kelvin Sheppard. To make room, rookie linebacker Hendrick Ekpe has been waived. Kelvin Sheppard (vertical)

Sheppard recently auditioned for the Dolphins alongside fellow linebacker Rey Maualuga, but both players left Miami without a contract. The 29-year-old was with the Dolphins in 2014 and 2015 before moving to the Giants in 2016.

With Miami, Sheppard made 30 appearances with the club and started 15 times in two seasons. Last year, the 29-year-old appeared in each of the Giants’ games last season and made 11 starts, but he finished with just 47 tackles, failed to force any turnovers and earned a poor grade (39.1) from Pro Football Focus.

Sheppard may not be able to reprise the career-high 102 tackles he had in 2015, but he could still be a quality depth option for Chicago to evaluate. The Bears project to start Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman at the inside linebacker spots, though Trevathan is questionable for Week 1 with a knee issue (same goes for reserve outside linebacker Pernell McPhee). Before the addition of Sheppard, 2016 fourth-round pick Nick Kwiatkoski and former UDFAs Christian Jones and John Timu were the team’s top reserve ILBs.

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Dolphins Work Out Kelvin Sheppard

Along with the previously reported Rey Maualuga, the linebacker-needy Dolphins worked out free agent Kelvin Sheppard on Wednesday, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (on Twitter). Miami didn’t sign either player and “will keep monitoring options,” writes Jackson, who adds that the team hasn’t ruled out picking up Maualuga. Whether it will continue considering Sheppard is unclear.

Kelvin Sheppard

Had the Dolphins inked Sheppard to a deal Wednesday, he’d have been in line for his second stint with the team. Sheppard was a member of the Dolphins from 2014-15, when he made 30 appearances with the club and started 15 times. Nearly all of those starting appearances (14) occurred in 2015, a season in which Sheppard amassed a career-high 102 tackles. The former LSU Tiger wasn’t much of a difference-maker in Miami, though, and also wasn’t a high-impact defender in stints with the Bills (2011-12), Colts (2013) and Giants (2016).

Sheppard, 29, appeared in each of the Giants’ games last season and made 11 starts, but he finished with just 47 tackles, failed to force any turnovers and earned a poor grade (39.1) from Pro Football Focus. He hadn’t generated any known interest in free agency until his workout with the Dolphins.

Miami’s decision to bring in Maualuga and Sheppard came as a reaction to the ACL tear that ended second-round rookie linebacker Raekwon McMillan‘s season last week. The Dolphins will also go without Koa Misi, whom they placed on injured reserve in June as a result of the spinal fusion surgery he underwent last year, further weakening their depth at linebacker.

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