Sam Shields is the Packers’ top cornerback. His speed helps him hang with the fastest receivers in the game, and you only had to compare the Packers’ two games in Arizona to see the difference his impact made in the defensive backfield.
Shields finished the season with 39 tackles, three interceptions and 13 defended passes. He was the third-ranked Packers cornerback and 25th overall by Pro Football Focus with an 81.0 grade — 11th in coverage (83.6). His numbers might have been higher had he not missed four games with a nasty concussion suffered against Dallas.
But health has been an issue throughout Shields’ career. Since joining the Packers in 2010, he’s been unable to complete a full season. In six seasons, Shields has missed 17 regular season games. This will need to improve moving forward.
With Williams and House departing in free agency, Shields had a bigger role to play on defense, and he stepped up in a big way. Safety Morgan Burnett and Shields are the two most experiences players in the Packers’ secondary, and were both critical in the success of the rookie corners.
Dropped interceptions were a problem for Shields in the loss to Arizona, which could have cost the Packers a chance to advance. It’s hard to be too critical, as Shields played an excellent game outside of the dropped picks.
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