Sam Shields May Be Sliding Down Depth Chart

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There must be some big news coming out of the Green Bay Packers‘ first day of mandatory minicamp, right? Not really, but we did take note of one thing passed on by Jeff Ash.

Jarrett Bush was working with the Packers starting base defense ahead of Sam Shields. Tramon Williams was on the other side and Charles Woodson worked in the slot.

Shields, who had a pretty terrible 2011 season, appears to be sliding down the depth chart. That, or the coaches are sending a message that he better get his shit together if he wants to see the field at all.

Let’s consider the position for a minute.

The starters are set with Williams and Woodson. The Packers re-signed Bush, who was a free agent, in the offseason — a clear vote of confidence for a player who has steadily improved. Then they drafted Casey Hayward in the second round of the draft. Meanwhile, Davon House has been getting praise all offseason for making the good old second-year jump.

The second-year jump is something Shields didn’t make last season. After performing admirably as a rookie, Shields took a major step back in 2011. He gambled too much and often paid for it.

So where is he on the depth chart now? Fourth? Fifth? Maybe even sixth?

It’s too early to tell. He’s probably still ahead of Hayward and House because of experience, but there’s no guarantee that will last.

If you’re counting, we’ve mentioned six cornerbacks. The Packers kept six corners last season. Substitute second-round bust Pat Lee for Hayward and you have the group.

Lee and House were fifth and sixth in the group and didn’t really get on the field other than on special teams. If he doesn’t turn things around, a guy who once looked like a future star may find himself in that position this season.

If things get worse, Shields may find himself off the roster entirely.

About The Author

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

16 Comments on "Sam Shields May Be Sliding Down Depth Chart"

  1. AZPack

    Love the fact that we have so much competition in the defensive backfield. Shields can be a great player… Hopefully he’ll get his act together and have a better year this year.

  2. Shawn iltarion

    There is this thing called “tackling” that our defensive coordinators have rediscovered a fondness for.

    Ever since Sam Shields got his “anti-tackling” tattoo, he’s been taking the field with a matador’s cape.

    Very unfortunate for a guy who sealed the Packer’s trip to the Super Bowl with an INT.

    With opponents like the Aints and the D-troi on the schedule, it is good to have 4 or 5 decent DBs.

    • Shawn iltarion

      Yeah, and WAY more missed tackles too.

      Of course he had more tackles. He was a starter all season in 2011. That wasn’t the case in 2010.

  3. Donny H.

    Sam Shields has a roster spot this season. Here is an observation made by Vic who is a writer @ packers.com.

    “Another memorable play of the spring belongs to third-year cornerback Sam Shields, who ran step for step with Jordy Nelson on a deep ball, and then jumped to intercept the pass at the goal line. That kind of play-the-ball-in-the-air skill isn’t something you can teach. It’s a natural skill that cries out for playing time and continued development.”

    • Donny H.

      Here is some insight from Dom Capers IRT minicamp –

      “Cornerbacks Sam Shields and Davon House are putting the finishing touches this week on very strong spring practice performances. They were featured in Tuesday’s minicamp opener.

      “They’ve gotten an awful lot of work. Both of them have made progress, gotten a better feel for man and zone concepts,” Capers said.”

      Losing Collins is a major blow, no doubt, but I believe the secondary will be competitive this season. This unit is not rebuilding, it is reloading.

      • Donny H.

        Training camp starts at the end of summer..not trying to argue that Shields is a solid tackler – just the notion of him not being on the 2012 roster is stupid.

        Half of the battle is to prevent the receiver from catching the ball in the first place. Given that Shields and House are becoming fluent with the schemes, they should win most of these battles. Some of the missed tackles by Shields last season were because he was too far out of position to close in and make the play.

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  5. Abe Frohman

    My old volleyball coach used to say “You can’t teach tall.” The same adage applies here – you can’t teach speed. You can teach tackling, however. Shields has the physical tools to be a premier corner in the league.

    I was at the MACC fund dinner a few weeks back. Rodgers was saying how in 2010 Tramon, Sam, and Wood were ALWAYS in the film room studying. I was thinking “and why not last year, too?” That’s the kind of thing that needs to happen again.

  6. Peter

    What everyone is forgetting is that sam did not get an off season of training last year which helps guys improve. It was not like he was horrible, he played his role but the pack didn’t have the rush they did during their super bowl run so guys were being covered for that extra second which was all the difference. I foresee a dominate defense this year with a shutdown secondary

  7. Shawn iltarion

    People are overstating the lack of pass rush and forever will.

    Over and over again last season we saw the opposing QB throw the ball a half second before getting hit, only to deliver it to a wide open WR.

    When you get less sacks for a season, is that solely because of a poor pass rush, or is it also because the QB doesn’t have to hold onto the ball because his first options are wide open?

    The Packer secondary made their share of mistakes last season.

    On the other hand, it is a good point that Shields did not get the benefit of OTAs last season. He was a WR in college so tackling may never be his strong suit. However, his speed and his ball skills give him the opportunity to be a great CB in this league.

  8. Savage57

    Here’s the tag for Sam Shields:

    If you’re going to tackle like Prime Time,

    You better cover like him, too!

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