Jan 5, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields (37) intercepts a pass during the third quarter of the NFC Wild Card playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field. The Packers won 24-10. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Shields Locked in as Starter

Sam Shields. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports photograph

The Green Bay Packers entered training camp with a slew of talented cornerbacks on the roster. Back in January, defensive backs coach Joe Whitt declared an open competition for the starting two rosters spots at cornerback.

The Packers added to this embarrassment of riches by drafting Iowa cornerback Micah Hyde  in the fifth round of April’s draft.

Cornerback was to be one of the most highly anticipated position battles in camp this year. However, the theme at the position so far in camp has been injuries. Both Casey Hayward  and Tramon Williams have missed a significant amount of time, but despite the position’s depth being tested so far in camp, there has been one constant.

Sam Shields.

The four-year veteran was a restricted free agent this past offseason, and his future in Green Bay still remains uncertain entering this year as the two sides failed to come to a long-term agreement. Shields was forced to sign the one-year $2.023 million restricted free agent tender.

Shields has had a very strong camp. He hasn’t been beaten once in the preseason so far, and he remains the team’s top cover corner. It will be interesting to see how Shields’ role changes when Williams returns, the team’s previous No. 1 corner.

Paul Imig, Packers beat writer with Fox Sports Wisconsin, reported earlier today that Shields is in serious contention for the teams top cornerback spot.

Paul also mentioned that Coach Whitt doesn’t necessarily see his cornerbacks as shadowing the opposing team’s top wide receiver, but rather, will play on specific sides of the field. Meaning, there might not necessarily be a top cover corner on the team declared, but rather depending on the game or situation, either Shields or Williams could cover the opponent’s top pass catcher.

This is a good nod for all of Shields’ hard work so far in camp. If Shields continues this progress and plays a major role on defense this year then the Packers will have no choice but to re-sign him to a contract extension.

It would be foolish to let him test the free agent market after this season if he does prove to be the team’s top cover corner; however, the progress of rookie Micah Hyde and second-year corner Casey Hayward make play a major factor in whether or not Shields will be affordable for the team to lose after the season.

Stay tuned for more Packers camp updates.

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Tags: Casey Hayward Green Bay Packers Micah Hyde Sam Shields Tramon Wiliams

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