Shields Pays For Aggressive Move

Two weeks after Sam Shields' 60-yard interception return, he suffered a potential concussion after a violent hit in the end zone against St. Louis. The defensive backs' mind-set is to make a play, fellow cornerback Tramon Williams said.

When Sam Shields took an interception out of the end zone two weeks ago against Denver, the result was a 60-yard return.

The result wasn't nearly as good on Sunday against St. Louis.

Shields' leaping interception in the end zone, coming on first-and-goal at the 10-yard line late in the third quarter, thwarted the Rams' best chance of scoring a touchdown in the Green Bay Packers' 24-3 victory. Shields, who is one of the fastest players in the NFL, ran across the end zone looking for daylight. What he wasn't looking for was receiver Brandon Gibson, who delivered a jarring blow.

Shields went to the locker room with what the team called a head injury. He was not available to reporters after the game and was "still being evaluated" – likely for a concussion -- coach Mike McCarthy said after the game.

"It's about decisions," McCarthy said. "Any time you're involved in handling the football, whether you're playing quarterback, playing running back, returning kicks, you have an interception, you have to make smart decisions with the football. That probably wasn't the best decision."

Probably not, but defensive backs aren't wired that way. After playing chase play after play, game after game, when a defensive back gets his hands on the ball, he wants to do something big. With Shields' open-field running ability, that desire to make something happen only is heightened.

"As a DB, we're trying to get yards," cornerback Tramon Williams said with a big laugh. "Unfortunately what happened to Sam, it happens, especially when you're in the end zone like that. But like you said, he had 60-something yards a couple weeks before. What can you tell a guy now?

"That's the mind-set in this secondary. Most secondaries, they're just happy with interceptions, but we have guys that want to catch and score. That's just what we do. Obviously, we've got to be more smart with it but that's what we want to do."

Nobody's done more catching and scoring than Charles Woodson. In the same game in which Shields had his 60-yard runback, Woodson moved within one pick-six of the NFL record with his 11th career interception return for a touchdown.

The 35-year-old Woodson, who's taken Shields under his wing as Shields has gone from undrafted rookie to solid defender in a season-plus, has another coaching point to work on with the 23-year-old speedster.

"Well, he should've come out the same way, the place that he caught it, instead of trying to reverse field," Woodson said. "He lost vision of who was on the other side of the field and took a pretty good shot. We've got to get him to look up field first, instead of across the field."

Meanwhile, starting safety Morgan Burnett made it through the entire game with few problems while wearing a cast on a broken hand sustained at Thursday's practice. Burnett was stiff-armed and missed a tackle on Rams running back Steven Jackson on the first series but finished with nine tackles and a forced fumble in a solid performance.

"I didn't ask anybody," Burnett said, "but I did research on line about different players playing with clubs, and guys were telling me stories about when Nick Barnett played with the club, and I remember when Patrick Willis played with it at Ole Miss. I can just say, the adrenaline gets to rushing out there so you really don't think twice about it."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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