During training camp, Sam Shields served as a punching bag for the Green Bay Packers media and fan base. There was a point where he lost his starting position on defense to special teams ace Jarrett Bush. Bush isn’t a great defensive player by any means, so this was a slap in the face for Shields. Shields really hadn’t done much for the Packers before he suffered an ankle sprain during the week 6 match up against the Houston Texans. Shields missed 6 games due to the injury, and at the moment it seems like a blessing in disguise.
Shields returned with a bang two weeks ago against the Detroit Lions, getting a crucial interception while Detroit was in the red zone. His interception really changed the momentum of that game. Then came last week when the Packers clinched the NFC North against the Chicago Bears, where I feel Shields played his best game.
Shields did a great job covering Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery all game, holding him without a catch. There was some controversy; Jeffery got called 3 straight snaps for offensive pass interference while Shields was covering him. It was like payback for Shields, who was victimized by the replacement officials in the “Fail Mary” game. Getting past all the controversy though, Shields played great in man coverage. I believe with his return, the Packers secondary is complete. They could also be a dangerous squad if he continues to play like this.
Looking back, in August I would’ve never thought Shields would be regarded as the savior of the defense. Maybe Shields is channeling his rookie year of 2010 when he played some of his best ball. I didn’t realize how much I missed Shields until he stepped foot back on the field.