Sam Shields - 2015 Packers Player Report Card

Sam Shields

  • Age: 28
  • Born: 12/09/87 – Sarasota, FL 
  • Height: 5’ 11”           
  • Weight: 187
  • College: University of Miami
  • Rookie Year: 2010, Free Agent
  • NFL Experience: 6th season
  • Career Stats and More

Expectations coming into the season:   Shields signed a contract extension prior to the 2014 season.  With the departure of former number one cornerback Tramon Williams to Cleveland in free agency Shields became the de facto leader of the secondary.  The speedy former wide-out is known for his coverage ability but his tackling was again suspect.

Player’s highlights/low-lights:  His acrobatic interception of a Colin Kaepernick bomb to Vernon Davis against the 49’ers helped to seal the win.  Although it is hard not to forget his ‘matador tackle’ of Larry Fitzgerald with a  75-yard scamper on the second play of overtime (one of many by the way), it was his three missed interceptions, one of which Carson Palmer served up to Shields on a silver platter, which may have contributed to a win against the Cardinals.  Unfortunately those three misses and in particular the one near the goal line largely defined his season.

Level of expectations met:  Shields is a mid-to-upper-tier shut down cornerback.  Although he is always around the ball and has the speed to make up for his mistakes his game is not complete.  His tackling is suspect, may never get appreciably better and even though he was a college receiver, his hands leave something to be desired. Time missed because of injury especially his four game absence from a concussion are worrisome.

Grade:  A-

Player’s contribution to the overall team success:  Shields can be a very good player and in fact is the Packers best cornerback by a bunch.  Despite missing four games with a nasty concussion suffered during the Cowboys game, Shields logged 13 passes defended and 3 INT’s.  The slightly built Shields also missed part of the Denver game and all of the Carolina game due to injury.  Statistically ranked the Packers third best cornerback and number 23 overall by ProFootball Focus. 

Grade:  B+

Player’s contributions in the playoffs:  Shields missed the Redskins game with a concussion but returned vs. Arizona and graded out as the Packers top cornerback vs. the Cardinals, a +3.8.  He was targeted 10 times by QB Carson Palmer and only allowed three receptions.  If only he had hung on to that one gift-wrapped interception…………

Grade:  C

Intangibles/Miscellaneous: Sam is a leader but only by example.  As his position coach has said, ‘he doesn’t say two words in meetings’.  His overall health given his slight build is also a concern.  If Casey Hayward bolts in free agency Shields will instantly become the old man of the group at the ripe old age of 29.  More will be required of Shields next season if the Packers are to go deeper into the playoffs.

Grade:  B-

Overall Grade: B+

NFL Categories: 
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Comments (13)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
NickPerry's picture

January 27, 2016 at 06:19 am

I wonder if Sam hadn't missed the 4 previous games does he drop all 3 INT chances he had? Something tells me no, he comes up with at least one.

He played well this season and the future looks bright for Packers secondary.

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lou's picture

January 28, 2016 at 05:53 pm

I had the exact feeling that Nick Perry did, missing a month especially with a concussion certainly had to affect his timing. He has played so well in the playoffs in previous years. It would have been fun to watch him run 97 with one of those pick opportunities, even Larry Fitzgerald in his prime wouldn't have come close to catching Sam.

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croatpackfan's picture

January 27, 2016 at 06:31 am

This is fair grade... Hope he will come back with his contract year form for the next season!

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Bearmeat's picture

January 27, 2016 at 07:31 am

Fair grade. Sam played very well 2 Saturdays ago. He could have (should have) knocked it out of the park.

He is the best CB in the NFCN - with a possible cap tip to Darius Slay.... man... this team has SO much bloody talent!

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Idiot Fan's picture

January 27, 2016 at 11:38 am

In the playoff game, the dropped INTs stand out, but I think his presence boosted the defense as a whole. Dom seemed much more comfortable bringing pressure with Shields back there in coverage. Even the announcers noted the difference in how Dom called the game, with Shields' presence being a big key. Not to mention, if you drop three INTs, you're at least putting yourself in position to break up the passes. Those drops were painful, but otherwise I think he played a heck of a game, and you could see the impact he has on the D. I think a C grade is much too harsh for that game.

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DukeDivine's picture

January 27, 2016 at 12:12 pm

I just can't get past the drop on the AZ go ahead TD drive in the 4th quarter... Those were the plays that made got them to the superbowl and won it. Somebody step up and make a play!!

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dobber's picture

January 27, 2016 at 12:16 pm

If you're talking about the tipped pass that landed in Floyd's hands when SOMEONE should have either caught it or knocked it down...I still see that one in my head and wonder, "HOW?"

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zoellner25's picture

January 27, 2016 at 05:45 pm

I know he's a CB but he used to play WR. Dude really, really, really needs to work on catching the ball.

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Oppy's picture

January 27, 2016 at 10:07 pm

It seems a lot of people still lament Shields unwillingness to commit to tackling and doing a poor job of it when he does.

That seems to be a dark cloud still casting a shadow over him, but I think it is just that- a shadow, and not overly representative of his actual performance over the last two or three years, where it seems to me he has steadily improved his tackling and attacks the ball carrier more often than not, even if it's a RB at the LOS.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 28, 2016 at 01:17 am

I agree with Oppy and Idiot Fan. Shields' ability to play without over the top help allows GB to play Burnett practically on the LOS and to dial up blitzes. His tackling IMO in fact improved, and he almost never got beat deep. A grade of "c" for the playoffs is too low.

Jeff uses unrelentingly negative language in the text - almost seems like a coach trying to motivate a player - such that the grades are almost a surprise. If Shields had good hands we would be paying him something much closer to Revis money. His hands are what prevents him from being viewed as a purple or elite player. One can hope that he will improve his hands, but otherwise we'll have to deal with it.

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pointerjeff's picture

January 28, 2016 at 07:31 am

Shields playoff grade takes into account he only played in one of two post season games. His defensed passes were good vs. AZ but he did drop three potential INT's. One of those three deep in AZ territory just prior to the deflected Cardinals TD could have iced the game for the Packers. We will never know, but big time players make big time plays. C is a pretty good average grade especially considering he missed playing at Washington.

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Since'61's picture

January 28, 2016 at 09:44 am

This will probably sound overly harsh but Shield's dropped picks saved the game for the Cardinals. Given the state of our offense at least one of those picks and certainly 2 are exactly the big plays that we needed to get past the Cards and into the NFCG. However Shields also played well all season and had a good game against the Cards, but it could have been a great one. B+ for the season and B for the playoffs. Thanks, Since '61

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J0hn Denver's Gavel's picture

February 07, 2016 at 08:57 pm

we could have a hell of a secondary in 2016 if all goes well for them health- wise.

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