Three games into the 2011 season – there has been way, way, way too much of this from Sam Shields:
I mean, that is just pathetic.
I know he was a wide receiver in college. I know he missed valuable time during the offseason due to the lockout, time that would have been spent with coaches going over technique, etc, etc.
You know what it does look like happened this offseason? It looks like Sam Shields had a heart transplant. Or to be more accurate, it looks like he had his heart removed.
Shields is a phenomenal talent. I’ve written before that the sky is the limit for him in the game of football – but he has to want it.
Yes, he’s an amazing athlete. Yes, he has the potential to be one of the best cornerbacks in the game. He also has the potential to be a one year wonder who won a ring, spent way too much unsupervised time down in Miami while the lockout was going on, came back and never really improved and who just coasts through his career depending on his natural ability.
It’s really up to Sam – but there have been way too many “attempts” at a tackle like the one shown above from Shields so far this year (According to the guys over at Pro Football Focus, Shields is tied for the league lead in missed tackles with 6)
He needs to stop putting his arms around the ball carrier in a half-assed manner and bend his knees, put his hat across and explode through the offensive player the way he’s been taught.
I found it interesting that he had what was by far his best tackle of the season on Sunday against the Bears after getting into an altercation with Bears wide receiver Devin Hester, his friend from the University of Miami.
On a third and long, Matt Forte cut back across the field on a screen pass and seemed to be getting the corner. Shields flew in and took Forte’s feet out from under him, after which he popped up and was clearly amped. On the next possession, Shields made a fantastic pass break up on a slant pass on a 4th down play intended for Johnny Knox which essentially ended the game.
Shields needs to play with that fire all the time – not just when he’s gotten into it with an opposing player. If he can display that kind of intensity down in and down out, he could be a remarkable football player.