By Kevin Gibson
With the news that Sam Shields left practice this week with knee discomfort comes concern, along with some ugly memories from last season.
Atari Bigby is already out for Sunday’s tilt against the Chicago Bears while safety Nick Collins is banged up, and if Shields is limited or (heaven forbid) inactive, it would likely mean seeing Charles Woodson outside at corner for the game, spending more time down-field in pass coverage.
While Woodson is obviously still a Pro Bowler and can be counted upon to step up, it would nevertheless mean more reps for Pat Lee and Jarrett Bush. Covering the Bears’ speedy receivers is tough enough with the starters healthy – and this is not to even mention a potential downgrade in the run defense with less help from the versatile Woodson. Losing Shields on special teams would hurt as well.
Stability tests on Shields’ knee showed no abnormalities, but an MRI may be next.
The injury concerns in the secondary conjure the playoff shootout last Jan. 10 in which Green Bay lost to Arizona 51-45 and now-retired Kurt Warner moved his offense at will against a depleted Packers secondary that featured Bush, Brandon Underwood and journeyman Matt Giordano.
Jay Cutler is not Kurt Warner, obviously, but it nevertheless leaves one hoping that the Bears will be less than motivated Sunday, with the division and a playoff bye already wrapped up.