Lito Sheppard has not played a regular-season game yet for the New York Jets.
But he's already made an impression, and it's not a very good one.
Sheppard is playing opposite widely-respected cornerback Darrelle Revis, which means he can expect teams to test him throughout the year. It's already happened in the preseason.
According to NorthJersey.com, the Giants threw at Sheppard nine times in their last preseason game, and he was whistled for a pair of pass interference penalties.
But fans will give him a pass since it's the preseason, right? Check out this published letter to the editor in the New York Daily News:
Any truth to the rumor Jet Lito Sheppard's full first name is Litoast? I think he got beat again while I was typing this.
I recently texted a friend in the business who is the most knowledgeable Jets fan I know for his impressions. His response:
Name is better than performance. Very inconsistent thus far.
Of course, minutes later, he sent a second text:
Our GM is clueless... can't evaluate talent. Hears a name he knows and gives up two picks for him. Deep down he knows he can't find talent with the picks anyway.
Already in midseason form, I see.
Anyway, back to Lito. He said he doesn't mind getting a lot of attention from opposing offenses.
"Truthfully, it’s giving me the opportunity to establish myself again, considering what I went through in Philly," he told NorthJersey.com.
Sheppard, of course, was a Pro Bowler and a fan favorite at one time in Philly, but after a disagreement with management before last season, he couldn't get on the field. Who can forget Jeffrey Lurie's famous assertion that Sheppard needed to improve his YPA? The Birds ended up dealing Sheppard to the Jets in February for a pair of draft picks.
Head coach Rex Ryan, meanwhile, doesn't appear to be too concerned with his performance so far.
"He had a tough time. They were going at him, no question," Ryan said. "The thing that I like was that he kept competing. Some guys just go straight in the tank and they don’t get their confidence back. ... I’m glad he’s on our team."
Sheppard said he still talks to a lot of the Eagles players, and it will be fun to see them. But he and the Jets' starting defense are expected to play just one series Thursday night.