1) Introduction: Packers CB Sam Shields burst onto the scene with a solid rookie season in 2010 despite being an undrafted free agent. What made his performance even more impressive was the fact that he only played one year of cornerback at the University of Miami. (His first three years were spent at wide receiver.) His speed and athleticism have often overshadowed any deficiencies in technique.
Samuel George Shields III
- Age: 25
- Born: 12/08/1987, in Sarasota, FL
- Height: 5’11″
- Weight: 184
- College: Miami (FL)
- Rookie Year: 2010
- NFL Experience: 3 years
3) Expectations coming into the season: It seemed as though a plague bore down on the cornerbacks in 2011. Not only did Tramon Williams suffer a shoulder injury, but Sam Shields’ play was noticeably subpar. Coaches attributed it to his increased responsibilities on the defense, while critics noted his lack of development in technique and unwillingness to be physical in his tackling. Coming into the 2012 season, Shields was in distinct competition for a job, and there was no guarantee he could get the job done.
4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Sam Shields’ season started off on a low point. He fell to the bottom of the totem pole during training camp, and when the regular season started, it was Jarrett Bush that got the starting position over Shields and the other cornerbacks. An ankle injury against the Houston Texans set him back even further. In spite of this, Shields came back even stronger to finish the season. He notched interceptions in 5 of his final 7 games, the final one for a touchdown.
5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: He didn’t hit his stride until later in the season, but once he did, Sam Shields seemed to be the best cornerback on the field. He played tight coverage, showed an improvement in technique, made athletic plays on the ball, and showed an improved willingness to tackle the ball carrier. The official statistics have Shields down for five penalties on the year, but many of them were highly dubious pass interference calls. (So much so that it became a running joke.)