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Lito Says He's Ready to Step Up

Lito Sheppard says he's prepared for the challenge of starting opposite Darrelle Revis.

The former Eagles’ cornerback probably felt a bit like another Philly tradition Saturday night, when the Giants tried repeatedly to burn him like a cheesesteak on a hot griddle.

But the first-year Jet took it all in stride, despite the fact that he was thrown at nine times by the Giants, and nailed twice for pass interference. The Giants apparently weren’t interested in his résumé, which features two Pro Bowl appearances, and wanted to stay away from rising star Darrelle Revis at the other corner.

"Truthfully, it’s giving me the opportunity to establish myself again," Sheppard said of being targeted by opponents, "considering what I went through in Philly."

Sheppard, who was traded in February from Philadelphia to the Jets for two draft picks, made the Pro Bowl in 2004 and 2006, but fell out of favor with the Eagles and lost his starting job last season.

He hasn’t lost his confidence, however.

"I play corner, so I’m expecting that every time we line up, the ball will come out there," he said. "I’m not worried about how many times they throw to my side or not. I’m just lining up and playing the best that I can. If they throw 80 balls over there, that’s 80 balls and I’ve got to play them."

It's great that he's confident, but the former Pro Bowler's play deteriorated last season to the point he fell to fourth on the depth chart. A lot of people myself included thought this was the result of frustrations over his contract situation in Philly and that a new team and a new contract would cure him. It hasn't looked that way in preseason. Lito hasn't played well.

This needs to improve. A quarter of the schedule is comprised of divisional games where he'll be matched up against Wes Welker and Terrell Owens. Revis can take away half the field, but that means Lito is going to get a lot of action in his direction.