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Whitt Makes It Clear: Shields Is Nickel Back

Shields has worked his way up the depth chart

There was some speculation about what would happen to Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields when Brandon Underwood returns from a shoulder injury.

Underwood was the nickel back before he got injured in the third preseason game. Shields has filled that role since.

On Monday, cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt made the situation clear.

“If Brandon did not get hurt, Sam would still be in the same position,” Whitt said. “His injury had nothing to do with it. Everybody just assumed it did, so I never corrected it. Nobody ever asked me.

“Sam has earned that position and somebody is going to have to come beat him and take it from him.”

Shields, an undrafted rookie free agent, has played well in the Packers’ first two games. He hasn’t been mistake-free, most notably getting faked out badly on a touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin in week one, but Shields has hardly been noticeable and that’s a good thing.

Certainly, you’d like to see a nickel back making plays, but Shields still has a lot to learn and the fact he isn’t constantly getting burned like, say, Jarrett Bush is a positive sign. In fact, thus far, Shields hasn’t been targeted extensively by opposing offenses at all.

Underwood, on the other hand, looks like he’ll be the dime back when he returns. When that will be remains in question.

Underwood practiced on a limited basis for the first time last week, but has been wearing a shoulder brace. His participation in practice this week will go a long way towards determining his status for the Bears game, Monday night.


Monty McMahon

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



  1. jeremy September 21, 2010

    Sam Shields has all of the tools. Witt and Woodson will help him put it all together. When Harris and Bigby come back, we will have one of the deepest secondaries in the NFC.

  2. Abe Frohman September 21, 2010

    something about Shields makes me root for him. Gotta love his story – undrafted free agent makes the team against long odds, moves way up the depth chart due to injuries, luck, and a bunch of playmaking. Good for him.