Cornerback Sam Shields says he’s feeling “much better,” though he’s not certain when he’ll be back on the practice field for the Green Bay Packers.
Shields injured an elbow on Aug. 6. It was a strange and scary situation, with Shields going down in a heap as running back Alex Green ran past him after catching a screen pass in a noncontact drill. Shields stayed on the Ray Nitschke Field turf for about five minutes before going back to the stadium for testing.
“My arm got stuck between Alex and the receiver and somebody ran by me and I was still caught and it just bent,” Shields said on Sunday. “It was scary at first. It’s a feeling like I’ve never felt before. It felt like it was broke. But I got back in (for testing) and it wasn’t that bad. It could have been worse. I’m good now.”
Shields, who worked as the Packers’ third cornerback for most of his first two seasons in the league, had fallen to No. 5 by the end of the first week of training camp. Shields, however, had gotten back on the upswing and was poised to push for his old job.
“He’s just got to stay focused on his opportunities in these other preseason games,” cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt said last week. “We just have to get him back and back doing what he was doing. I’m not worried about the setback, I’m worried about what he does when he gets back.”
Shields found himself demoted at the end of last season, throughout the offseason and into training camp because of his poor tackling and general distaste for physical play. Shields heard the criticism and responded. Before the injury, Shields was clearly more physical.
“That was something that I needed to work on,” Shields said. “I was working my butt off trying to work on that. Each day, it got better and better. It’s just learning and wrapping my arms around. It felt like, ‘OK, I can do this.’ Now it feels natural to me, like I’ve been doing it. “
The injury report was down to “just” 19 players out of practice.
Returned to practice: TE Ryan Taylor (concussion); DE Jerel Worthy (knee).
New injuries: None.
Old injuries: WR Shaky Smithson (ankle); WR Diondre Borel (groin); RB Duane Bennett (knee); CB Davon House (shoulder); RB Brandon Saine (hamstring); FB Jon Hoese (hamstring); CB Sam Shields (elbow); RB James Starks (turf toe); TE Eric Lair (knee); LB Desmond Bishop (hamstring/knee); G Ray Dominguez (ankle); T Marshall Newhouse (concussion); WR Greg Jennings (concussion); WR Tori Gurley (groin); TE Jermichael Finley (quad);
Active PUP list: OLB Frank Zombo (hamstring), DL Johnny Jones (knee), T Derek Sherrod (leg) and TE Andrew Quarless (knee).
The week ahead
The team will practice at 11:15 a.m. on Monday and Tuesday. Both are scheduled for full pads, though that’s subject to change given the length of the injury list. There is no practice on Wednesday, with a home preseason game against Cleveland starting at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The Packers will not practice on Friday and Saturday.
— The truly competitive part of training camp ended last week. All of the 11-on-11 work on Sunday was against “cards” — scout teams running an opponent’s plays. “We’re not necessarily working on Cleveland, we’re working on future opponents,” coach Mike McCarthy said. Those future opponents include common concepts among the first four opponents: San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle and New Orleans.
— New offensive lineman Reggie Wells worked with the first unit at left tackle. Andrew Datko, however, had the most snaps with the starters. “I wouldn’t get real caught up in who’s playing what, particularly these last couple days,” McCarthy said. “Hopefully, Marshall will be back soon. This testing has been a challenge. It’s a lot longer process than prior years. I think he may be back tomorrow or the next day, and if he does, obviously, he’ll be ready for Cleveland.”
— Evan Dietrich-Smith replaced Josh Sitton at right guard for the team periods. Sitton wasn’t injured, per se, but was given a break to soothe some aches and pains.
— Aaron Rodgers was intercepted by Sean Richardson (off a deflection) and Brad Jones (on fourth down in a no-huddle drill). The receiver whose deflection led to Richardson’s interception was impressive undrafted rookie Dale Moss, who bounced back by making a nice catch while being hit by Jerron McMillian and also made a leaping grab.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.