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Packer Notes: Shields Surprises, Tryouts, and Bulaga Struggles

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Over at Pocket Doppler, I was asked a few questions about the Green Bay Packers. I said the biggest surprise this season was CB Sam Shields. The Press-Gazette has a little bit more about his rapid rise. Shields was beaten last week on the Cowboys lone TD pass (though he had pretty good position) and made up for it with an earlier INT. The roster decision on CB Al Harris would have been different if it weren't for Shields. While he's not perfect, I would have laughed at anyone who suggested a few months ago that he would earn the nickel job by merit. He was an undrafted rookie free agent, he only played defense for one year in college, and he was viewed as a returner only when signed. To rise so rapidly, especially as a rookie, and earn the nickel CB job is amazing.

The Packers took advantage of the bye week to tryout eight players, according to the National Football Post. I haven't heard of any of them, but I'll take a closer look if someone is signed. I'm not sure about this rumor of a tryout for TE/LB Spencer Havner.

Another great article from Pro Football Focus, which takes a closer look at the blowout last Sunday. I've been worried about the play of 1st round rookie RT Bryan Bulaga, but I don't have access to game charting or stats against offensive lineman. This article confirmed what I've been worried about: Bulaga had a lousy game. Against the Cowboys, he allowed five QB pressures and one sack. While he's no RT Allen Barbre, he's little improved since his first disappointing start against the Redskins. It hasn't helped that he's been asked to play right tackle over the past five weeks, and he didn't play on the right side at all during the preseason. Still it might be best if they let RT Mark Tauscher take over for the rest of the season, if the veteran is ready to return after the bye week.