Keeping the Green Bay Packers top dogs together


Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields will most likely return to the team. Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports photograph

The Green Bay Packers might lose some of their best talents and not even be the same team in 2014.

So you can bet the front office is prepared to dish out some serious cash for the right guys in free agency.

The Packers need to look no further than their own roster – at Sam Shields. He had a good year going before sitting out two weeks with hamstring problems in late November. Shields offered some of the team’s best coverage even after receivers ran their routes and quarterbacks had all day in the pocket. Shields, more often not would be in position to break up the play. He had sixty-one tackles and 4 picks last season. He was right there most plays, breaking things up, deflecting the ball or giving a perfectly-timed hit on the ball as it came into play for the receiver.

Shields is not a Pro-bowler yet, but in time if he continues as he has there’s a good chance he’s made for it. In four seasons with Green Bay, he’s had 155 tackles and 13 interceptions, improving over time into a solid asset.

Defense is a team effort, with no one man or unit counting more than the next. Each unit must do their jobs reasonably well, so as to not make others look as if they could not do their job.

One area that was not doing their job more than any other was the defensive line. The list of defensive linemen with seemingly good college starts runs deep this year in the draft. It would not surprise me to see Ted Thompson trade down to get more second, third and fourth round choices and with those trades, he would serve the team well to replace that defensive unit, adding linemen and keeping his best one or two players.

That wold be Jolly and Raji, despite both having sub-par seasons.

Signing Raji won’t be for the kind of money he wants, and because of that he will probably head down down the road for more cash. If only Jolly could make an entire season without injuries, he might be a standout. He was billed as such when he was brought in, but has demonstrated less than the write-ups claimed.

Games are won and lost at the line-of-scrimmage. That battle is not won often enough on the football field. This is the one unit that is not performing to the same standards the other two defensive units (linebackers & backfield) play at. They (the D-Line) are making the others appear not as talented or professional as they are.

How can Thompson stand still without “sitting on his hands” waiting for the pool of draft choices? Most people would be on the phone day and night. Perhaps Ted was on the wire. “Timing is everything, timing … timing … timing.” Quote: (Lombardi).

Both Thompson and Shields are most likely on the same page with his signing back with the Packers. He’s going to try his wings, so to speak in the free agent pool. Let’s just hope it ends as a win – win outcome for both parties.

Maybe the d-line is not good enough for Coach Capers to field a winning team. We can see the team’s top-shelf talent is with Rodgers, Lacy, Cobb, Mathews and J. Nelson. Shields is on the verge of breaking into that elite group. We could see him as moving up to “top notch” next season as he has shown consistent improvement. The defensive line and linebackers have had their share of injuries, the linebackers even more so than the line. Depth makes the difference in W’s and L’s when all is said and done on the injury scene. Some folks were screaming at the linebackers half way through the season when the injuries piled up nearly as much as a small war-zone. Get a healthy Johnny Jolly in the lineup and it might be enough to dominate.

That is with a re-signed Sam Shields in the defensive backfield.