Aug/31/12 08:38 AM Filed in: Sam Shields
Green Bay - This was the Sam Shields that the Green Bay Packers have been trying to find since his rookie season of 2010.
Aggressive and making plays on the ball.
Unafraid to tackle.
Running stride for stride with wide receivers deep down the field.
At one of the team's most vulnerable positions, Shields stood out Thursday as the Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, 24-3, in the 52nd annual Bishop's Charities Game at Lambeau Field.
Thus, the Packers evened their exhibition record at 2-2, and 14-14 in seven seasons under coach Mike McCarthy. The Chiefs finished 1-3.
Now the Packers have until 8 p.m. Friday to reduce their 75-man roster to the final 53.
Here is a position-by-position rundown of developments against the Chiefs and how they might be reflected in roster deliberations:
Secondary: Jarrett Bush started his third game of the summer at right cornerback alongside Tramon Williams. They gave way to Shields, who played through the third quarter, and Casey Hayward, who played until halftime.
Shields wasn't perfect. He gave ground to talented Dwayne Bowe, who came back to the ball for a 9-yard reception. A few plays later, Steve Breaston, the other starter, worked free against press coverage from Shields and caught a pass for 11.
That was all Shields would give up.
In the second quarter, rookie Junior Hemingway tried to get deep but Shields covered him closely and the pass fell incomplete.
Then Brady Quinn, who had all day to throw, fired a second-and-goal pass from the 5 into the back of the end zone for wide receiver Jamar Newsome. Shields trailed him from the outside before accelerating to the ball for the pick.
Shields probably was even more impressive in the physical aspect of the game, which was his Achilles' heel a year ago.
He threw his body into a pile to help limit Shaun Draughn to 4 yards. He blitzed off the back side, flattened inside and dragged down Nate Eachus after a gain of 3. He made a superb open-field tackle in the middle of the field on wide receiver Josh Bellamy, who had eluded two safeties and seemed on his way to turn a 20-yard gain into 30 or 40.
Hayward had an interception nullified on an end-zone fade but also demonstrated some shortcomings trying to cover enormous Jon Baldwin. The Packers know what Bush is.
The San Francisco 49ers are a power running team. Bush would be the logical candidate to start the opener because he's clearly the most physical cornerback.
But based on this showing, Shields figures to be no worse than the dime back and, in obvious passing downs, the coaches would have to at least consider inserting him for Bush.