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.