Sam Shields won’t play in Thursday night’s preseason opener against the Chargers because of an elbow injury, and the way things have been going for the young corner, that might not be such a bad thing.
I wasn’t too concerned about all the negative press Shields was getting at the start of training camp. After all, he was one of the best defensive rookies in the entire league two years ago, and even in a disappointing sophomore season that saw him tackle like Deion Sanders, he still did a pretty decent job of covering receivers. But after watching Shields live late last week, count me among those very worried.
All of a sudden, Shields looks like a former receiver trying to play corner. His technique is awful and his confidence is obviously shaken. Worst of all, the coaches seem to have lost confidence in him. And once that happens, it’s hard to get it back. Shields has time to turn things around, but I’m starting to wonder if that’s possible. As crazy as this would’ve seemed 10 days ago, he’s in danger of being released.
Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams, Davon House, Casey Hayward, Jarrett Bush and Morgan Burnett are locked into spots on the 53-man roster. M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian would have to stumble big time not to stick. That leaves one or two openings. Shields would seem to have a significant edge over the likes of Brandian Ross, Anthony Levine, Sean Richardson and Micah Pellerin, but you never know. When coaches sour on a player, anything can happen. It’s up to Shields to make sure anything doesn’t happen.