Sam Shields finds his groove in first game back

In his first game back from a high-ankle sprain that kept him out nearly two months, CB Sam Shields had regained his old spot by the second quarter. After a couple of early mistakes by replacement starter Davon House, who'd been playing well for the most part over the span, Shields was back on the outside in his No. 2 cornerback position, where he'd started the first five games for the Packers.

His return to the field couldn't have gone much better. Shields had one of the Packers' two key defensive takeaways in their 27-20 win over the Lions, athletically appearing out of nowhere to intercept Detroit QB Matthew Stafford deep in Green Bay territory in the second quarter. His return on the pick was impressive, too, as he brought the ball back 32 yards, showing off his speed.

“Sam played well. It was great to have him out there,” coach Mike McCarthy said Monday. “You know Sam can run, but you really appreciate what he does, in particular on big plays, whether it's chasing down a reverse or, obviously, the interception was a big play for us.

“It was great to have him back and his presence on special teams. He's just an ascending young player that gets better with every opportunity.”

With Shields back, the Packers had a glut of young cornerbacks that rendered the Lions' injury-depleted receiving corps toothless. Besides colossal All-Pro Calvin Johnson, who caught 10 passes for 118 yards, only one other receiver (Kris Durham) had a reception.

Shields' partner in the secondary, CB Tramon Williams, who covered Johnson, was glad to have his sidekick back.

“Sam showed what he can do (Sunday) and showed what he can bring to this team,” Williams said. “I hope he continues playing like he did.”

The Packers hope to get veteran DB Charles Woodson back this week against the Bears. Woodson has been out with a broken collarbone since Week 7. Before his injury, he was playing safety in the base defense and slot cornerback in the oft-used nickel package.

With Woodson in the fold, the Packers would have five capable cornerbacks -- Williams, Shields, House, Woodson and rookie Casey Hayward (five interceptions) -- available in passing situations. It may not be an embarrassment of riches, but it's an abundance of competent cornerbacks in time for the playoff push.

Bookmark and Share
blog comments powered by Disqus