Packers Sam Shields Quietly Returning to Form All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Sam Shields
Is Packers CB regaining his 2010 form?

The cameras focused on Clay Matthews destroying Jay Cutler, the announcers raved about Tramon Williams shutting out Brandon Marshall, and fans cheered as the Packers took a 10-0 halftime lead on the Bears after a surprise field goal resulted in a touchdown.

Meanwhile, Sam Shields kept silently plugging away.

Shields spent most of his time tracking Alshon Jeffry, helping to limit the rookie to one catch for seven yards.  Shields never did anything flashy — the Packers had Matthews, Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams to make the big plays. The third-year CB just did what the Packers needed him to do: Be fundamentally sound in pass coverage and get physical if needed.

The physical part started against San Francisco, as documented by Rob Demovsky here and highlighted in the video below.


In case you don’t believe what you just saw, that was Shields going hard after the ballcarrier (Frank Gore, nonetheless) and stopping him short of a first down. We didn’t see Shields stick his nose in there like that last season, and it’s a major reason why Shields had to fight to get his job back this season.

Shields played 60 of 63 snaps against the Bears and was only targeted once (on a pass to Devin Hester). After catching three passes for 80 yards in the season opener, Jeffry never sniffed the ball with Shields on him.

Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers said that the Bears game was one of Shields’ best “since he got here.”

Maybe some competition was just what Shields needed. As an undrafted rookie fighting to make the team, Shields looked like the next great Ted Thompson find in 2010. With some job security and a Super Bowl ring on his resume, Shields tumbled in 2011.

Jarrett Bush got the start over Shields against the 49ers and guys like Casey Hayward and Davon House pushed Shields all throughout training camp. Once he gets healthy, House will likely continue to try and take as much playing time away from Shields as possible.

Competition is a good thing. Who knows? Maybe Shields will go back to his passive self. Every defender played well against the Bears. That’s not going to happen every week.

I’d still like to see how Shields reacts when the ball is in the air and he needs to go up to make a play. He’s looked more aggressive tackling, but he also needs to be aggressive and physical when he’s going up for a jump ball against a wide receiver.

We might not have noticed how well Shields played on Thursday, but if he keeps showing signs of being the promising player he once was, we’ll notice soon enough.


Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .


  • zac5

    The shock of seeing Bush getting the start over himself in game 1 has made Shields hungry. I hope it lasts all season.

  • Pat Mc

    Letting Ross go probably means House is getting close and TT/MM/Dom feel CB is not a big need for future.

    Letting Bush start over Shields was a good reward for Bush who has been abused by fans but also motivation for Shields and House.

    • Bubbaloo

      “Letting House go” was as simple as NOT elevating him to the “53” or paying him “53” money! The Raiders MUST place him on the 53 to take him from the GB’s practice squad, a position the Packers obviously didn’t think he was ready for.

      • Bubbaloo

        Sorry, that was meant to say “Letting Ross Go”.

  • Ron LC

    One game does not a season make. But, keep it up and they’ve gone a long way to sloving some of the problems of 2011

  • FireMMNow

    Sheilds got the memo that the NFL is a “what have you done for me lately” league. For a guy like Shields the line between getting cut and being a starter is very thin. If he can become and average tackler in run support it will bode really well for him long term. Al Harris was never a great tackler, but he was willing to stick his nose in there. Last year shields did not do that. The guy has all the skills you could ever ask for in a CB, he just needs to get his head right. Last week was a step in the right direction.

    If the pass rush can continue to be solid it will allow the CBs to be more aggressive. All of the Packer DBs are better when they can drive on the ball with confidence. You cannot do that if the QB constantly has time for double moves.

    Hopefully the offense gets off to a better start so that our new breed of DL (worthy and daniels) can get on the field a lot in the second half. This D is the 3-4 version of the old Colts defense. Speed pass rushers up front that can only play to their strengths when they can pin their ears back.

  • James david Marsh

    CB Shields has what you cannot teach- size and speed. Do not forget that he still has very little game time playing experience and he is coachable.

  • Jersey Al

    This guy here predicted Shields would win his job back and that it’s what the Packers hoped would happen all along. Doesn’t mean he couldn’t lose it to House, but regardless, with Shields, House, Heyward and Bush, the Packers cornerback position is in pretty good shape.

    • aaronqb

      This is the best depth GB has had at CB in a long time. Evidence is that Ross got signed from our practice squad to an NFL active roster.

      I’ve always been a big Sam Shields fan. His upside is very high. His closing speed is Deion Sanders-like.

      • Oppy

        To be fair, Brandian Ross was signed to the Oakland Raiders 53 man roster, whose General Manager is now Reggie McKenzie, who was Ted Thompson’s right hand man in Green Bay until this year when he left for the job offer from OAK.

        In other words, Brandian Ross is a guy McKenzie probably scouted himself and he’s a guy he KNOWS. Old scouting reports and familiarity is weighed heavily by Thompson and all the guys who learned their craft from Ron Wolf (including McKenzie).

        Many other teams may have passed over Ross completely.

      • Spiderpack

        “Deion Sanders-like.” YES!!!

  • Bearmeat

    Shields will never be a big hitter like Chuck is. He’s simply too small. However, he has more speed than any perimeter player in the NFL (with the possible exception of Mike Wallace).

    He’s too small to be a lockdown corner. But a good CB and a playmaker? Absolutely.

    GB’s D will be just fine this year.

  • Mr. Bacon

    Sometimes a person needs to get punched in the face mentally to wake them up. In this case the whole offense after the first week.

    Either two things happen, you get torched beyond recognition or you use it as motivation to get back on the horse.

    I would expect Sam Shields to be the latter, as he is a product of the “U”.

    • Mr. Bacon

      Ack, I mean the defense. The offense though had a clunker of a game.

    • DR

      Being a product of the “U” means he probably will soon be in jail or suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Thankfully TT doesn’t draft from there.

  • Wagszilla

    Shields had a good game against the Bears, he made several good adjustments and did well in coverage. That being said, he still has a lot of work to do.

    Shields made a tackle, so what?

    Do you want a medal for playing football?

    • Mr. Bacon

      How about a plague made of Turf?

  • Oppy

    I went on the record EARLY last season in these forums as saying if Shields doesn’t want to tackle and continues to avoid contact, the coaching staff needs to bench his ass to send a message and he’d change his play style overnight.

    A number of people thought I was excessive or jumping the gun, I think someone commented that benching him would destroy his confidence.

    Well, Nyaany Nyaany boo-boo, I told you so 😛


  • Chad Lundberg

    You mentioned an article by Rob demovsky. Why is Green Bay Gazette suddenly forcing me to have to pay to see their articles? No way I’m doing that.

    I’ve always loved GB Gazette, but if they keep pulling a stunt like this, they can go lay an egg.

    • Adam Czech

      It’s real hard to give something away for free, then suddenly ask people to pay for it. I totally see why that frustrates you.

      However, guys like Rob don’t cover the Packers out of the kindness of their hearts. They’re paid to do a job and provide a service. It’s hard for the company they work for and get paid by to turn a profit if they’re work is just given away for free.

      • Chad Lundberg

        But 12 bucks a month? Yikes! Not even my xbox live account demands that much.

      • Oppy

        Adam, Sorry, but this is UTTER BS.
        Newspapers make their money by selling advertising, always have, always will.

        In the “old days”, newspapers were published on paper- thick wads of sheet after sheet of paper. Everything had to be laid out and printed on a press in the middle of the night. Cut, sorted, assembled, packed up. Picked up by route drivers and other various delivery methods, sections hand-stuffed in their proper order in the full paper, and physically dropped off on to vendors, placed in newspaper boxes, machines, and front doors.

        The cost of the paper was often $0.50 for a full daily edition, at one time, I think the MJS sunday edition was $1.75 a copy. But the big money has always come in advertising.

        Cut to modern day, online additions. Almost ZERO overhead comparatively. There’s no Ink. No Paper. No printing, pressing, assembly, distribution. But there is still advertising money rolling in. Oh, and unlimited viewership, as well, since the internet does not know the boundaries that logistics place upon physical newspaper distribution.

        Sorry, this one is all about greed, imo.

        Maybe I’m completely off- I’ve never worked keeping books for a newspaper. But the logic does not add up to the dollars they seem to ask for reading sports articles to me. Publishers have found the cash cow they are trying to milk like all get-out.

        • Adam Czech

          Advertising money ain’t rolling in like it used to, especially classifieds. Are subscriptions a paper’s main revenue source? No, but its a revenue source. People that pay to read the paper, online or offline, are also more valued to advertisers than people that access the content for free.

          The market will determine how much is too much to charge to read a newspaper online. I don’t know what the answer is there. Like I said earlier, once you give something away for free, you de-value it so much that its hard to convince ppl that its actually worth paying for down the road. We shall see.