NFC North: Sam Shields

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Randall Cobb talked more about his contract situation at his locker on Thursday than he has with the Green Bay Packers, apparently.

Three months away from hitting free agency, the fourth-year receiver said he's no closer to getting a long-term deal done with the Packers than he was back in July, when he said he had not done enough to warrant an extension -- or at least not the kind of extension he wanted.

Here he is now, just four days after he surpassed the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the first time in a season, and little has changed for Cobb.

"There's no contract talks that have been going on right now, so I guess not," Cobb said during a lengthy session with reporters on Thursday. "I guess there's still more to do. So, just continue to put my nose down every day and focus on getting the team into the playoffs and doing everything I can to bring back the Super Bowl."

The Packers are expected to keep the Cobb-Jordy Nelson duo together, so perhaps general manager Ted Thompson is following a similar approach to the negotiations last season with cornerback Sam Shields, who signed a four-year, $39 million contract just a few hours after the negotiating window opened for free agents. Nelson, meanwhile, signed a similar contract extension in July.

Cobb admitted early in the season that the contract weighed on his mind as he got off to a slow start. Since Week 7, when Cobb caught six passes for 121 yards and a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers, he ranks eighth in the NFL in receiving yards and 13th in catches among all receivers. For the season, his 10 touchdowns ranks tied for eighth overall.

Yet he still thinks about his contract.

"I can't say I don't,” Cobb said.

But it doesn't bother him like it did early in the year.

"No, I'm still going to play football," he said.

Cobb has a strong support in his quarterback. On his ESPN Milwaukee radio show this week, Aaron Rodgers lobbied for Cobb's return.

"There's a lot of guys that embody what it means to be a Packer," Rodgers said on the show. "Over the years, there's been a number of guys who really just kind of bought into the Packer way of making it about the team and being a great locker room guy, being a guy you can count on every day to be a great teammate and a great practice player, and great in the community and take ownership of the responsibility to conduct yourself the right way. It's been fun to see a lot of those guys get paid and get second contracts and stick around, and Randall is one of those guys who's exactly what I was just talking about."

It's a sentiment that Cobb said he appreciated.

"You definitely hear from your teammate and friend, your quarterback," Cobb said. "It's a great feeling to hear that. He has that trust in me, and I'm just continuing to work for him and do the best I can for him."

And for himself and his contract.

"I am my biggest critic, I've always been my biggest critic [and] I'll always be my biggest critic," Cobb said. "So I still don't think I've earned what I'm trying to be. I've still got a lot of work to do. So I'm just taking it day by day and doing the best that I can to be the best that I can be for this team."
GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers might be without the one cornerback who had some measure of success in coverage Monday against Falcons star Julio Jones.

Davon House replaced the struggling Sam Shields in the fourth quarter and came up with a pair of pass breakups against the Atlanta Falcons' star receiver during his 11-catch, 259-yard performance.

But it was on one of those breakups – a pass that House almost intercepted in the end zone on a second-and-6 play from the Packers’ 12-yard line with 7:19 remaining – when he got hurt. Jones' knee caught House on the back of his right shoulder. House was slow to get up after the play but remained in the game.

House did not practice Wednesday, and coach Mike McCarthy said he did not expect him to practice Thursday, either, leaving his status in doubt for Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills. House said he was scheduled to undergo more tests.

"It's really all up in the air right now," House said Wednesday. "We'll see what happens when we get these tests back and go from there."

House has had shoulder problems in the past. He was on his way to winning a starting job in 2012 until he separated his left shoulder in a preseason game at San Diego and missed the first six games of the season.

House has been in and out of the lineup this season in various defensive packages.

"It's never good when you're hurt, especially when you get a chance to play and you do all right," House said.

Shields, who went into Monday's game questionable because of a concussion, was not listed on this week's injury report.

Here's the Packers full injury report:
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- If you were in search of a detailed explanation for why the Green Bay Packers' defense unraveled in Monday night's 43-37 win over the Atlanta Falcons, then coach Mike McCarthy's news conference on Tuesday was the wrong place to look.

"I'll tell you what, I'm not going to sit here and talk about defense all day," McCarthy said Tuesday. "We're on to Buffalo. That's where we are. We'll have time to correct our things tomorrow with our players, and we'll learn from it. And, obviously, you always want to make corrections after a win."

[+] EnlargeJulio Jones
AP Photo/Tom LynnThe Packers' Sam Shields mostly struggled in trying to cover Atlanta's Julio Jones on Monday night.
That's not to say McCarthy is burying his head instead of taking a long, critical look at the film after Atlanta's Julio Jones had the best game ever by a receiver against a Packers defense with 259 yards and a touchdown on 11 catches.

He just had no interest in rehashing it.

And because of the short turnaround following the Monday night game, the man in charge of the defense, Dom Capers, and the other Packers coordinators did not hold their usual day-after-game sessions with reporters. That will have to wait until Thursday.

The only detail McCarthy provided was that he believes they did change coverages in response to a question about why they did not commit more defenders to stopping Jones.

"It isn't like we played one coverage," McCarthy said. "Hey, they had a big day. Julio had a huge night. They got hot in the second half. I think you first have to give the Falcons credit. They're a very good offense. Winning in December is important, and winning in December is difficult."

And for that, McCarthy saw no need to apologize.

But in their film sessions and game-planning meetings in advance of this Sunday's game at the Buffalo Bills, the coaches will have to find answers for where things went wrong.

Things went downhill for Capers' unit from the outset of the second half, when Jones caught a 79-yard pass on the Falcons' first play from scrimmage of the third quarter.

Cornerback Sam Shields, who practiced only one day last week after sustaining a concussion against the New England Patriots, spent most of his time trying to cover Jones until the Packers finally pulled him after 45 snaps in favor of Davon House, who fared much better while playing the final 22 snaps.

McCarthy said Shields did not have another injury and that the change was part of a predetermined rotation, but Shields never played another snap after he gave way to House, who was credited with two pass breakups against Jones (who couldn't finish the game because of a hip injury).

Maybe the Packers should have yanked Shields earlier, when it became evident he was not on top of his game.

"I thought he obviously wanted to be out there Monday night [and] appreciate him being there," McCarthy said of Shields. "He's a young player, and he's our guy."
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers' secondary will be at full strength for "Monday Night Football."

Cornerback Sam Shields passed the concussion protocol and will play against the Atlanta Falcons at Lambeau Field.

Shields, who sustained a concussion early in last Sunday's game against the New England Patriots, did not practice all week but on Saturday coach Mike McCarthy seemed optimistic that Shields had a chance to be cleared.

The Packers made a roster move on Monday, when they placed defensive tackle Luther Robinson on injured reserve and signed defensive tackle Bruce Gaston. However, Gaston, a rookie from Purdue who was signed off the Arizona Cardinals' practice squad, was declared inactive.

Here's the full inactive list for the Packers:
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Sam Shields still has time to make it through the concussion protocol, so the Green Bay Packers have not ruled their starting cornerback out of Monday night's game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Officially, the Packers listed him as questionable on Saturday's injury report.

"The medical staff has told me he still has a chance to play," coach Mike McCarthy said Saturday. "He'll be given the opportunity to play in the game if everything goes right."

The Packers did not practice on Saturday, but if they did, Shields would not have taken part. They will hold their final practice of the week on Sunday morning.

"Sam Shields is a starter, so I'm going to give him every opportunity to play," McCarthy said.

Shields was injured in the first half of last Sunday's win against the New England Patriots. Davon House replaced him and finished the game. He would start along with Tramon Williams if Shields isn’t cleared. Cornerback is perhaps the Packers' deepest position on defense, which bodes well against Falcons receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White.

White, however, was listed as questionable on the Falcons injury report, although he insisted he will play.

Safety Micah Hyde has been a fixture into the nickel spot, and cornerback Casey Hayward has been settled into the dime spot.

"It's definitely a very good receiving group," McCarthy said. "We've been practicing all week without Sam, so Davon, Casey and Tramon, they'll be ready to go."

Defensive tackle Mike Daniels, who hasn't practiced all week because of a sore back, looks on track to play.

Here's the full injury report:

LB Jamari Lattimore (ankle)
DE Luther Robinson (calf)

CB Shields (concussion)

DT Josh Boyd (knee)
DT Daniels (back)
G T.J. Lang (ankle)
OLB Nick Perry (shoulder)
G Josh Sitton (toe)
G Lane Taylor (illness)
GREEN BAY, Wis. – On Thursday, Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy called defensive tackle Mike Daniels day to day with a sore back.

Apparently one day wasn't enough for him to return.

Daniels sat out practice again on Friday. However, there's still plenty of time for Daniels to recover in time to play on Monday night against the Atlanta Falcons.

The Packers were without another defensive starter on Friday. Cornerback Sam Shields (concussion) still has not returned.

Backup linebacker Jamari Lattimore (ankle) also did not practice. Backup guard Lane Taylor also was not seen at practice during the portion that was open to reporters. He was not previously listed on the injury report.

The Packers were in full pads on Friday, using one of their three allotted padded practices after Week 11.
GREEN BAY, Wis. – As well as Mike Daniels has played lately, the Green Bay Packers should hope the sore back that kept the defensive tackle out of practice on Thursday isn't problematic.

That was the indication from coach Mike McCarthy, who called it "a day-to-day thing."

Daniels is coming off perhaps his best stretch of the season. In his last two games, he has 1.5 sacks and six tackles. He and outside linebacker Mike Neal combined for the fourth-quarter sack of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady that essentially clinched Sunday's victory.

McCarthy also said cornerback Sam Shields was still going through the concussion protocol. Shields left Sunday's game in the first half and did not return.

Thursday was the first on-field session since the win over the Patriots; McCarthy gave the players three straight days off before preparations began for Monday night's game against the Atlanta Falcons. Despite listing seven players on the injury report, McCarthy said he thought the team was refreshed after the mini-break.

"Hell, they'd better be; they got an extra day off, three days," McCarthy said after Thursday's practice. "It was good. Practice was good today."

Here's the full injury report:
  • DT Josh Boyd (knee, did not practice)
  • DT Mike Daniels (back, did not practice)
  • G T.J. Lang (ankle, limited participation)
  • LB Jamari Lattimore (ankle, did not practice)
  • OLB Nick Perry (shoulder, limited participation)
  • CB Sam Shields (concussion, did not practice)
  • G Josh Sitton (toe, limited participation)
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Mike McCarthy had an explanation for his players' business-as-usual attitude after Sunday's monumental win over the New England Patriots.

"I just think they were mesmerized at the fact that they got an extra day off," the Green Bay Packers coach said Monday. "They were speechless. Yes, hey, it was a fun locker room.

"It was a lot of build-up during the course of the week. I thought their discipline and staying focused, that they definitely hit the targets. A lot went into that game for both teams. I thought both teams competed at a very high level. They were probably tired more than anything."

If there wasn't a wild celebration after the victory, there was when McCarthy announced in the locker room that players would be off until Thursday.

The postgame locker-room video, which can been seen here on, shows McCarthy telling the team: "I want you to treat these next two days like a mini bye week. ... Let's get you fresh, get healthy. I will see you Thursday."

The Packers will still have a full week of practice. They get an extra day because their next game is their one and only appearance this season on "Monday Night Football," against the Atlanta Falcons at Lambeau Field.

Instead of holding an extra day of practice Wednesday like he has done in the past, McCarthy said the on-field work will begin Thursday.

"I wanted the players to have an extra day off this week," McCarthy said. "You look at years past when you plan out your schedule. We've played on Thanksgiving day every other year. I always like that little break right before the fourth quarter of the season, so I tried to create that a little bit with the Monday night schedule."

The Packers had two injuries from the game: cornerback Sam Shields (concussion) and linebacker Jamari Lattimore (ankle). McCarthy had little new information about their conditions.

"Sam Shields had a concussion, so he'll go through the protocol," McCarthy said. "Jamari, he felt a little better today than he did yesterday, but I don't have any gauge on what their practice participation will be this week."
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields left Sunday's game against the New England Patriots in the second quarter and was being evaluated for a concussion. He was ruled out and did not return.

Shields left after missing a tackle on a 12-yard gain by running back Brandon Bolden that set up the Patriots' first touchdown of the game.

Davon House replaced Shields.

Earlier in the game, quarterback Aaron Rodgers had his left hand stepped on by Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins at the end of a 17-yard scramble. Rodgers appeared to have a gash that ran the length of his hand but did not miss a play.
GREEN BAY, Wis. – Mike McCarthy did not even want to talk about it when the subject was broached on Friday morning. A little while later, Josh Sitton knocked on his wooden locker at Lambeau Field.

The Green Bay Packers are by and large healthy this season, and that's newsworthy for a team that has been injury-plagued for the better part of McCarthy's tenure as head coach.

This week's injury report provide a snapshot of just how different this season has been in the Packers’ training room. Every Friday, before McCarthy takes the microphone for hisnews conference, public relations director Jason Wahlers reads the injury report. This week, it contained just four names: Sitton (toe), fellow starting guard T.J. Lang (ankle) -- both listed as a probable -- and a pair of backups, tight end Brandon Bostick (hip) and outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott hamstring), who were ruled out.

Never before in McCarthy's previous eight seasons as head coach had the Packers listed so few players on a Week 11 injury report.

"Let's talk about that after the season," McCarthy said, "because I don't want to jinx it."

But he added, "The numbers are good."

Anything might look good compared to the run of injury luck -- if luck actually has anything to do with injuries -- the Packers have been on the last several seasons. According to an annual offseason study by Football Outsiders, the Packers ranked ahead of only two teams in adjusted games lost to injuries. In 2012, no one was hit harder than the Packers, according to the same formula. Since 2008, the Packers have ranked in the top half of the NFL in adjusted games lost only twice -- in 2009 (12th) and 2011 (16th).

Football Outsiders has not compiled injury data yet this season, but the Packers have only one projected starter –--nose tackle B.J. Raji -- out for the season. He was lost to a torn biceps tendon in the preseason.

Only one offensive starter has missed a game (right tackle Bryan Bulaga in Week 2). On the other side of the ball, defensive end Datone Jones leads the way among starters with three missed games, while cornerback Sam Shields has missed two. No other defensive starter has missed more than one unless you count Brad Jones, the Week 1 starter at inside linebacker who upon his return after missing three games because of a thigh injury did not get his job back.

McCarthy has searched far and wide for ways to limit injuries. This season, he adopted a practice schedule similar to what Sunday's opponent, the Philadelphia Eagles, have done under coach Chip Kelly.

"I look at really my time here, we've probably been through three generations of practice schedules," McCarthy said. "The first couple years, the amount of time that we were on the field was obviously extremely higher than it is now, and then we made adjustments, which I thought were favorable."

This year, in a normal, seven-day week before a Sunday game, the Packers practice Wednesday (not in pads), Thursday (in pads) and rest on Friday before a short practice on Saturday morning without pads.

"I've always been taught the philosophy of two days on and one day off," Sitton said Friday. "That's how I've always trained; that's how I train in the offseason. So, it makes sense to do it during the season. Your body can only handle so many days in a row. I think we've brought a lot more energy to the practice field. I seem to notice a difference."
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Josh Sitton went through a workout on Friday morning, and then the Green Bay Packers' injured left guard spoke as if he were playing in Sunday night's game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field.

"Just moving around doing certain movements that I'll be doing on Sunday," Sitton said when asked to describe the workout designed to test his toe injury.

When asked about his use of the future tense, Sitton said: "I don't know. I'm going to see how it feels tomorrow."

Officially, the Packers listed both Sitton and starting right guard T.J. Lang as questionable on their injury report. Lang did not speak to reporters on Friday.

Sitton said he spoke with team physician Dr. Pat McKenzie on Friday about the risk of further injury to his toe, which remains swollen.

"I think that risk is going to be there the rest of the season no matter what," Sitton said. "It's not something that's going to be a huge threat. That doesn't worry me as much."

The issue, however, is that if Sitton continues to play on it, it's not likely to heal.

"It's not going to get any better the next eight weeks," Sitton said. "We'll see how that goes. Hopefully, I don't need surgery."

In other injury-related news, receiver Kevin Dorsey sustained what coach Mike McCarthy called "a significant injury" to his foot in practice on Thursday. The injury, which was still be evaluated on Friday, could end Dorsey's season. The seventh-round pick in 2013 missed all of his rookie season because of a toe injury. Dorsey began this season on the practice squad but was promoted to the roster on Oct. 6 and has played a major role on special teams.

Here's the full injury report:
WR Kevin Dorsey (foot)

RG T.J. Lang (ankle)
LG Josh Sitton (toe)

S Morgan Burnett (calf)
DE Datone Jones (ankle)
QB Aaron Rodgers (hamstring)
CB Sam Shields (knee)
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton rode stationary bikes during the Green Bay Packers' practice Thursday, putting off more strenuous tests on their injuries for at least another day.

The starting guards both appear to be long shots to play Sunday night against the Chicago Bears.

A day after Sitton revealed he has a torn ligament in his left big toe, Lang said the ankle injury he sustained in the Packers' last game Oct. 26 against the New Orleans Saints included "some ligament and muscle damage that will take a little extra time to treat and heal."

However, Lang said it would be a mistake to rule out him or his longtime running mate at this point.

"I wouldn't bet against us playing this week," Lang said. "It's just a day-to-day process, and we're both in the same boat. We've been doing the same things. See how we feel tomorrow."

The Packers don't practice on Fridays under coach Mike McCarthy's new schedule this season, so whatever work Lang and Sitton do may not be as strenuous as a regular practice.

"I thought they would do some drill work today," McCarthy said Thursday. "But the plan is now to work them tomorrow."

Lang has missed only one game since he became a starter in 2011. Last season, he missed the entire week of practice leading up to the Nov. 10 game against the Philadelphia Eagles because of a concussion but was cleared in time to play.

Sitton has missed just two games -- both in 2011 -- since he became a starter in 2009.

"I'd be very comfortable playing with both T.J. and Josh without any practice time," McCarthy said.

Here's the full injury report:
GREEN BAY, Wis. – While the Green Bay Packers practiced on Thursday, their starting guards were at the far end of the Don Hutson Center going through a light workout.

That doesn't bode well for T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton's chances of playing Sunday night against the Chicago Bears.


Sitton said Wednesday that he thinks he can play with the torn ligament in his left big toe but was scheduled to meet again with team physician Dr. Pat McKenzie to determine when he might be able to return. Sitton was injured in the third quarter of the Oct. 26 loss at the New Orleans Saints but remained in the game.

Lang is still recovering from the sprained ankle he sustained against the Saints.

They were the only two players who did not practice during the portion that was open to reporters.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers (hamstring) appeared to be moving well during individual drills, and all three defensive starters who missed the Saints game -- safety Morgan Burnett (calf), cornerback Sam Shields (knee) and defensive end Datone Jones (ankle) -- practiced in full pads.
NEW ORLEANS -- The Green Bay Packers will be down to half of their starting secondary against the No. 2 passing offense in the NFL on Sunday night at the Superdome.

Safety Morgan Burnett, who was listed as questionable because of a calf injury, won't play against the New Orleans Saints. The Packers also won't have cornerback Sam Shields, who will miss his second straight game because of the knee injury he sustained on Oct. 12 at Miami.

Combine that with defensive end Datone Jones, who was declared out on Friday because of an ankle injury, and the Packers will be down three defensive starters against Drew Brees and Co. The Saints entered the week ranked second in the NFL in both yards per game (437.0) and passing yards per game (314.0).

Davon House will make his second straight start at cornerback. At safety, the Packers will start the combination of rookie Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Micah Hyde. Clinton-Dix made his first NFL start last Sunday against the Carolina Panthers in place of Hyde, who had started the first six games.

What remains unclear is what defensive coordinator Dom Capers will do in the nickel package, where Hyde typically moves to the slot position. If he wants to stick with that plan, he would play Sean Richardson at safety. Or he could leave Hyde at safety and play cornerback Casey Hayward in the nickel.

Much of that could depend on how Capers wants to cover Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, who is active despite being listed as questionable with a shoulder injury.

Here's the Packers' full list of inactives:
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- For the second straight week, the Green Bay Packers spent Friday facing the possibility of playing without two of their four starting defensive backs.

 Last Sunday against Carolina, they got one of them back -- cornerback Tramon Williams -- but played without cornerback Sam Shields.

A week later, they're again concerned about Shields, who has yet to practice because of the knee injury he sustained on Oct. 12 at Miami. The Packers listed him as doubtful for Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints. Davon House would make his second straight start if Shields can’t play.

This time, the other issue is at safety, where Morgan Burnett has yet to practice this week because of a calf injury he sustained against the Panthers.

The situation might be more troublesome this week considering the Saints' high-powered offense, which ranks second in the NFL in yards.

On Thursday, coach Mike McCarthy expressed concern that Burnett's injury was not progressing as fast as he would have hoped.

But on Friday, there was a hint of optimism in his voice.

"Morgan was in here bright and early [going] through the treatments," McCarthy said. "He's obviously going through the Friday routine defensively with the walkthroughs and the classroom, so we'll give him every, plus it's a night game, too. We have more time."

The Packers have options if Burnett can't play. They could start Micah Hyde, who lost his starting spot to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix last week, but still played as the nickel defensive back. Or they could go with up-and-comer Sean Richardson and leave Hyde as the nickel.

Defensive end Datone Jones (ankle) was ruled out even though he practiced on a limited basis Thursday.

"Datone, actually, he went for it yesterday," McCarthy said Friday. "I appreciate him out there pushing through it. Frankly, watching the individual work with Mike Trgovac, our D-Line coach, you could clearly see he's not ready. So he's not going to make it."

Here's the full injury report:
  • Out: DE Datone Jones (ankle)
  • Doubtful: CB Sam Shields (knee)
  • Questionable: S Morgan Burnett (calf)
  • Probable: RB James Starks (ankle)