Packers rookie Shields comes through with strong showing : Packers Insider

Packers rookie Shields comes through with strong showing

November 8, 2010 by  
Filed under News

Nov 8, 2010 ~ by Lori Nickel, Journal-Sentinel

~Green Bay — Opposing defenses had not picked on Green Bay rookie cornerback Sam Shields so far.

Dallas decided to take a shot.

But now that Shields has made a big play on prime-time television, future opponents will probably think twice about doing anything like that.

Shields ran stride for stride with Dallas’ receiver Miles Austin in the first quarter Sunday night as quarterback Jon Kitna prepared to throw down the field.

Shields made a move to gain the inside track along the sideline on the throw and managed to box out Austin. He put himself in perfect position to wrestle the ball away for his first NFL interception.

All Shields would say was that he made a play in man-to-man coverage – “it was an opportunity” – but after chasing around another talented rookie receiver for most of the night, the play was a little bigger than that.

“That was a big-time play. They were going to go after the rookie corner with Dez Bryant up the field,” said defensive coordinator Dom Capers. “And he responded.

"Whatever they want me to do to help the team," said Shields. "I'm just going to keep doing what I have to do."

“Those are the kind of plays that when you put those on tape, people start to think about throwing the ball out there. Because if they don’t think a corner can play the ball, then they think the worst thing that can happen is an incompletion. But if all of a sudden they think that he’s got as good of a chance of getting it as the receiver, then they think twice about it.”

Green Bay used that possession to score with a touchdown by Brandon Jackson. It was the 15th straight game in which the Packers have scored a touchdown off a turnover at home – the longest such streak in the NFL.

Shields contributed to an overall cause as well because the Packers have been trying to generate more turnovers. In this game, Shields and Clay Matthews added to the total.

Shields also broke up a pass, had a tackle and a hit on the quarterback. He even returned a kickoff – his first – for 49 yards.

“I played pretty good,” said Shields. “There’s just some little things I’ve got to work on. I’m going to just go home and chill with my family and come back to work.”

But now the Packers have to decide Shields’ role.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy is going to stick to his plan of making a decision Monday whether to activate or release veteran cornerback Al Harris, or place him on injured reserve for the rest of the season. Harris suffered a devastating knee injury in Week 11 last season and spent the first six weeks of this season on the physically unable to perform list.

Harris has said he’s ready to play. If he comes back he would almost certainly be the nickel corner.

Shields has been having a quiet but strong season when he’s played in the nickel next to Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson as starting corners. He’s been a pleasant surprise for coaches, who watched Shields ascend the depth chart throughout training camp.

He said he is willing to accept whatever decision the coaches make and wasn’t sure what way they were leaning.

“Whatever they want me to do to help the team,” said Shields. “I’m just going to keep doing what I have to do.”

He also knows if teams do decide to attack Green Bay’s secondary starting with Shields, it will probably be because he is 5-foot-11 and 184 pounds.

He missed a few plays against Dallas as well. He said he had a good play on the ball but couldn’t get it out of Bryant’s hands on a 41-yard reception.

The big one was getting beat on Dallas’ lone touchdown. Kitna threw a perfect shot over the head of Shields to the 6-2 Bryant in the left corner of the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown.

Full story HERE

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