Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations – Defense – Sam Shields All Green Bay Packers All the Time


1) Introduction: Remember back in August when Mike McCarthy and Packers management kept preaching about “improving from within?” As usual, the Packers were not buyers in the free agent market, and most of us wondered how the team’s horrendous pass defense could possibly improve after a rough end to the 2009 season. We were even more skeptical once it became apparent that Sam Shields — an undrafted rookie who played cornerback for only one season in college — was going to be Green Bay’s nickel back. However, once the 2010 season concluded and the Packers hoisted the Lombardi Trophy, everyone that originally questioned why Shields was given such a key role was pointing to the rookie as a major reason why the Packers were world champs.

2) Profile:

Sam Shields

Position: DB
Height: 5-11    Weight: 184 lbs.

Born: December 8, 1987 in Sarasota, FL
College: Miami (FL)

3) Expectations coming into the season: Not screw up too badly. While people questioned Shields’ skills as a DB, nobody questioned his raw ability. It became apparent early in practice that Shields could run with any WR in the NFL and hold his own when it came to quickness. Consistency was the major question mark. Could Shields avoid major mistakes that would cancel out any positive plays he makes?

4) Player’s highlights/lowlights: Highlights included a two interception, one sack performance in the NFC Championship, a sprawling one-handed interception on a pass from Jon Kitna early in the Cowboys game, and picking off Eli Manning early in the fourth quarter of the Giants game. Lowlights included getting burned by Mike Wallace for a touchdown in the Super Bowl and struggling to help out with perimeter run defense throughout the season.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Major. Shields’ consistency was his biggest contribution. Yes, he made the occasional (undrafted) rookie blunder, but not nearly as many as we thought he would. Shields’ consistency allowed Dom Capers to experiment with his defense and help cover up for a lack of manpower at LB. Because Capers did not have to devise schemes to help a struggling Shields, the Packers defense was able to get creative and take a major leap forward.

6) Player’s contributions during the 6-win end-of-season run: Several shining moments. Nothing can top Shields performance in the NFC Championship game. He helped knock out Jay Cutler with a sack, thrwarted a major momentum shift with his interception before halftime, and sealed a trip to the Super Bowl with his pick on the Bears’ final drive.

Season Report Card:

(A-) Level of expectations met during the season
(B) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(B) Contributions to team’s success during the playoff run (last 6 games)

Overall Grade for the year: B


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 .


12 thoughts on “Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations – Defense – Sam Shields

  1. How could he not get an A+ for ‘level of expectations’? If you were expecting anything above a practice squad player that would have been a bonus. An undrafted player who only played the position 1 yr in college? Then he basically is starting on the SB team and is impacting your team with some huge plays?

    1. We have high expectations here at An example of an A+ in the expectations category would be Tom Brady in 2001 or Brett Favre in 1992.

      1. Expectations! Exactly. What were your expectations of an undrafted rookie with little college experience? To dominate excellent veteran WRs? I expect Brady and whoever that other guy may be to have great years because they are great players. It is right to expect that. But it took Brady a few years to do that – he wasn’t a undrafted rookie in 2007 (I think that is the year you meant)

        1. No I meant 2001. That was the year Brady took over for an injured Bledsoe and led the Pats to a Super Bowl. Brady was a 6th round pick. When a QB taken in the 6th round is forced into action and leads the team to a Super Bowl win, that gets an A+ in the expectation category. An undrafted rookie performing well as the nickle back is VERY impressive, but not quite on the same level as 2001 Brady.

          I see where you’re coming from. I’m not saying you’re wrong, but read the entire review. I rave about Shields throughout the entire thing. It’s sometimes too easy to skip to the grades part and focus solely on that. Fact is, there is not much difference between an A- and A+

          1. Okay. Not sure I agree yet. It was your raving about him, then the lack of an A+ that surprised me. To me, he had one of the most remarkable seasons of any Packer. Clay, Raji, Aaron, Tramon, etc. all played better and had more impact, but their performance was what I expected. But I do see where you are coming from.

          2. And I think you are still grading him too low. This year’s Packer pass D was the best in the NFL and essential to thier entire playoff run and winning the Super Bowl — in large part because of Shields completely unexpected high-level performance. In other words, Sam Shields this year gave exactly the same type of performance Brady did in 2001 — more if you remember Brady was a 2nd year player. Shields deserves the highest grade.

            1. I would say he far exceeded expectations. Probably give him a solid A in that department, but that’s a minor difference. But certainly not an A+. If he had made the Pro Bowl, then you could argue A+. You have to leave some room for even better performance than what he gave.

  2. From UDA with bad hands and uncertain adaptability to CB to what he acheived and maturation,B+ overall.

    1. Remember a lot of the early hope was that he could be a kick returner. That never panned out, but what the Packers got from his as a DB was pretty remarkable. I’d probably go B+, as well Taryn.

  3. I would have given him an A- to the overall success. Imagine no Sam Shields and Lee, or Bush (who was actually just fine on special teams), or a broken down Harris were the other cover guy? I mean who would ever have thought he would have played so well, freeing up so many other options. A- at least.

  4. Sam Shields was a body full of raw, undisciplined talent. Dr. Frankensien, err I mean Capers took that body and gave it life. Could he have been as successful in another system? I think not! Dom gets a share of the credit here.

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