Bucs WR Shepard knows Eagles offense well
TAMPA -- As the Bucs build a plan to try to contain Chip Kelly's uptempo Eagles offense on Sunday, one Bucs player has experience both within that scheme and with an opponent who has beaten it: rookie receiver Russell Shepard.
Shepard, a former LSU player who has not caught a pass this season, joined the Bucs after spending four months this summer with the Eagles, where he came to appreciate the complexity of the offense Kelly brought to Philadelphia from a college powerhouse in Oregon.
"It was pretty challenging -- it's an uptempo offense, very different from a lot of college and NFL (teams)," Shepard said Monday as the Bucs prepare for Sunday's home game. "There's a challenge it presents to every defense that goes against it, being able to figure out those wrinkles you don't usually see. As a skill player playing in that offense, I realized what a challenge it was learning it. I can only imagine as a defensive player (trying) to stop it."
Shepard said he enjoyed his time with the Eagles, who he said had hoped to sign him to the practice squad after being among the team's final cuts. But he also has the rare experience of seeing a Kelly college team lose -- he was at LSU (albeit suspended for the game) when the Tigers beat Oregon 40-27 in the 2011 season opener. It's one of just three losses Kelly took in his final two college seasons, and one of only two times in those seasons his teams were held to less than 34 points.
"At LSU, we beat Oregon. The way you beat his offense, the way you shut it down, is you hit it in the mouth," Shepard said. "You play physical football up front, take away the running game. Their offense is built off the run. If the running backs can be productive and have open lanes, that sets up everything else. Our defensive front seven is the best in the NFL, I believe. We have all the right guys to be able to have success against this team."
Shepard said he'll try to use his knowledge of the Eagles offense to help the Bucs this week, working on the scout team to simulate what they'll see on Sunday as best he can.
"The best thing to do is get lined up, identify your keys, play fast and play violent," he said.