There was some speculation about what would happen to Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields when Brandon Underwood returns from a shoulder injury.
Underwood was the nickel back before he got injured in the third preseason game. Shields has filled that role since.
On Monday, cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt made the situation clear.
“If Brandon did not get hurt, Sam would still be in the same position,” Whitt said. “His injury had nothing to do with it. Everybody just assumed it did, so I never corrected it. Nobody ever asked me.
“Sam has earned that position and somebody is going to have to come beat him and take it from him.”
Shields, an undrafted rookie free agent, has played well in the Packers’ first two games. He hasn’t been mistake-free, most notably getting faked out badly on a touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin in week one, but Shields has hardly been noticeable and that’s a good thing.
Certainly, you’d like to see a nickel back making plays, but Shields still has a lot to learn and the fact he isn’t constantly getting burned like, say, Jarrett Bush is a positive sign. In fact, thus far, Shields hasn’t been targeted extensively by opposing offenses at all.
Underwood, on the other hand, looks like he’ll be the dime back when he returns. When that will be remains in question.
Underwood practiced on a limited basis for the first time last week, but has been wearing a shoulder brace. His participation in practice this week will go a long way towards determining his status for the Bears game, Monday night.