ANDERSON, Ind. —
"There's a good rotation going on right now with myself and Kavell," Sheppard said. "Obviously, Angerer's not in the rotation due to injury right now, and I'm sure when he comes back he'll get in that rotation as well. So, yeah, definitely we're competing each day."
Angerer was listed as the starter on the first unofficial depth chart released Tuesday. But he hasn't practiced with the team this year as he recovers from a foot injury.
With Freeman nursing a shoulder injury of his own, Conner and Sheppard likely will start in the middle together against the Bills.
That should give each player an opportunity to impress defensive coordinator Greg Manusky and linebackers coach Jeff FitzGerald. But Sheppard said he doesn't need any extra motivation to get ready to play.
Even in the preseason.
"That moment that you think you have something, especially in this league, in this profession that we're doing, there's always somebody in your rearview mirror," Sheppard said. "And our linebackers coach said the moment you see somebody in that rearview mirror it's too late 'cause it's more than likely they're about to pass you."
Sheppard doesn't plan on being left behind.
He said he loves the physicality of Indianapolis' hybrid 3-4 scheme, and he's quickly fit into his new surroundings.
As he was being interviewed after a recent walkthrough at Anderson University, offensive guard Donald Thomas — another newcomer to Indy this year — playfully recorded a few answers on his smart phone.
Thomas continued circling closer and closer to Sheppard until the phone was directly in the linebacker's face. The defender laughed and brushed the phone aside, and Thomas retreated to the safety of the locker room.
"It's a family here," Sheppard said. "I mean, it takes me back to my LSU days. You walk in that locker room, it's not like you're going to work. It's like you're going home to your family."