Can Sam Shields Bounce Back From His Sophomore Slump?

Every year at Packers camp, there are always players who surprise and make a run to the 53-man roster. In 2010 training camp, that player was cornerback Sam Shields, a converted wide receiver who flashed great speed in coverage that allowed him to not only make the roster, but place him as the nickel corner behind Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson.

His playmaking potential and abilities in 2010, like the key interception against the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship game, is what made the Packers see that he belonged on the roster, and deserving of his position among the Packers' secondary. 

But, after a rocky sophomore campaign, in which he struggled to make proper tackles and broke down in coverage, Shields will have to work to keep his spot on the roster, after the improvement by second year corner Davon House , not to mention the Packers drafted corner Casey Hayward out of Vanderbilt in the second round.

And with Charles Woodson's advancing age and the status of Williams' shoulder, Shields may be counted upon more than ever, but unless he can get back to his 2010 coverage form and improve his tackling ability, he may find himself passed in favor of House or Hayward, who have both received praises by the coaching staff for their progress. 

The Packers are re-tooling their 32nd-ranked defense, which gave up horrendous amounts of yards through the air, and the veterans are getting plenty of attention and challenge from the coaching staff to step their games up. With players like Nick Perry and Jerel Worthy already working with the first-team defensive units, Shields had better be careful that not only House, but Hayward as well, don't push him out of his nickel back position.

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