1) Introduction: Sam Shields got the big contract to start off the season and this was time for him to show he was worth it. Would Sam Shields be 6th best cornerback in the league, like his 2014 salary indicated?
Samuel George Shields III
- Age: 27
- Born: December 8, 1987 in Sarasota, FL
- Height: 5’11”
- Weight: 184
- College: Miami
- Rookie Year: 2010
- NFL Experience: 5
3) Expectations coming into the season: Live up to the contract. The Packers made a pretty interesting call by resigning Shields to a 4-year $39 million contract at the start of free agency, which has been mentioned on this blog as high but flexible in terms of guaranteed money. Therefore, it becomes imperative that Shields justify his contract every year in order to stay on the team since Shields signed for the lowest amount of guaranteed money of the 2013 free agent cornerbacks. Overall, that didn’t work out for Shields as he recorded one of his worst seasons. While Micah Hyde went from really good to really bad (which gives him an F), Sam Shields went from average in 2013 to bad in 2014, which while still not as bad of a fall from grace as Hyde still deserves a flunking score. Shields needed to play much better to show he was worth the money and he didn’t deliver.
4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Shields’ highlight was his interception against the Bears (again everyone seems to have their highlight against the Bears this year) where he returned a interception 62 yards. As for lowlights, it definitely appeared as if Shields wasn’t healthy coming back from his concussion as Julio Jones continually roasted him in week 14 against the Falcons. Personally, I would put more of the blame on the Packers training staff and coaches for putting a player who was definitely out of it on the field, but nevertheless, it was probably one of the worst games Shields has ever played.
5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Below average. It’s a little interesting to note that while the Packers and Packers fans seem to think that Shields is one of the better cornerbacks in the league (and he’s being paid like one), in reality Shields has only had one really good season (2012, though he missed the middle of the season due to injury) and the rest he’s been incredibly up and down. In 2014 he did have some good performances, but overall he had many more poor ones which ultimately resulted in his poor grading.
6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Shields was largely average in the playoffs, not really making much of a name for himself in either regard.
7) Intangibles: Shields is getting to that point where speed starts to decline and it will be interesting to see if he has more tricks in his bag other than his blazing recovery. More and more teams are abandoning the “deep threat” (such as Mike Wallace/Torrey Smith) receiver in favor of mismatch receivers (such as Jimmy Graham/Alshon Jefferies) so it will become imperative that Shields refine his technique and rely less on his speed.
Season Report Card (Player Grades):
(F) Level of expectations met during the season
(D+) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(C+) Contributions to team during the playoffs
Overall Grade: D——————
Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.