Sam Shields admits lack of practice snaps affected him

Green Bay - Packers CB Sam Shields wasn't willing to take most of the blame for the defense's atrocious second-half performance against the Atlanta Falcons Monday night, but he did acknowledge that he wasn't at his best coming off a week of inactivity due to a concussion.

Shields wasn't the only guy who gave up big plays to Falcons WR Julio Jones, who set a record for most receiving yards (259) against the Packers in a single game, but it was clear he was off his game. He gave up one touchdown to Jones and almost another, save for a foot out of bounds, and was pulled from the game in the fourth quarter.

The coaches decided to play Shields despite the fact the only practice he had was some light work on Sunday after being cleared through the NFL's concussion protocol. He said he was cleared to play either Friday or Saturday.

The Packers never reported whether Shields practiced on Sunday, but he said that he had "just a little jog. Nothing major. Mostly rest. Mental reps, rest, things like that."

Now looking back, he admitted not getting any practice time hurt his play. But he said he was back practicing in full Wednesday and he was not on the injury report.
"I needed a couple reps," he said. "That probably would’ve helped out. It happens. I was in there, I got back on the field (and) that was the most important part. I’m getting reps this week and I’ll be ready for Buffalo.

Shields said he wasn't trying to be a "hero" by playing Monday night.

"I don't think I had a bad game or anything like that," he said. "I think it was solid for the reps I did get. One ball over the top that he caught out of bounds that was supposed to be a touchdown. That was my fault. (Stuff) happens. It's football. He's a great receiver. He's in the NFL, too."

There were plenty of players at fault for Jones' huge day.

Cornerback Tramon Williams got beat on a double move and S Morgan Burnett took a terrible angle on Jones' 79-yard reception to start the second half. Shields chased Jones down from the other side of the field and kept him from scoring.

Shields got spun around on another ball down the middle of the field that resulted in a 23-yard gain in the second quarter, but LB Clay Matthews and S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix didn't get enough depth on their coverage to take away the middle and contributed to the completion also. On a 30-yard pass down the middle at the end of the first half, CB Casey Hayward and LB Brad Jones were out of position.

"They did a hell of a job," Shields said. "The quarterback and receiver found the open spots, getting their first downs and explosive yards. That's what we can't have this week and continuing (on). That's what happened. Things are going to happen like that. You have to come back next week."

Shields said he did not take his removal from the game after White's fourth-quarter touchdown as a benching. The company line has been that the coaches were being cautious with Shields and coming off that series they decided to go with House.

But until that point, Shields had played the whole game, so it wasn't like they were rotating during the first three quarters.

"They felt that it was right," Shields said. "They kept House in, it's just everybody being a team. That's all it's about. It was House's turn to get up, that's an opportunity for him. He made a couple of great plays, and that's what we need.

"When one person goes down, another person picks it up. That's what happened."

Shields admitted it was frustrating to be taken out.

"There was a lot going through my head," he said. "It was frustration. You don’t want to be on the sideline. Coach made the decision. He made a good decision, put House in there. House made some great plays. I’ll be ready for Buffalo."

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