Packers CB Shields relishes matchups with top receivers

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) To play his position well, Green Bay's Sam Shields knows looking back is never a good thing.

Sure enough, the Packers' top cornerback has refused to play back the video clips of a controversial non-catch by Dallas receiver Dez Bryant with Shields in coverage during Green Bay's playoff win last January.

''Nah, I never went back on that catch,'' Shields said. ''I always forget things and move to the next. That's been my motto since I got here.''

Not quite a shutdown cornerback, Shields relishes opportunities to face top receivers. There's another one coming his way Sunday, when Bryant and the Cowboys return to Lambeau Field.

''You've got to take advantage of them,'' Shields said.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy had high praise this week for just how well Shields, a first-time Pro Bowl selection in 2014, is doing his job in his sixth NFL season.

''I think Sam's playing probably the best football of his career,'' McCarthy said.

Shields, who turned 28 on Tuesday, is tied for the team lead with two interceptions, ranks second with 11 pass breakups and also has been productive as a tackler after missing time in early November with a shoulder injury. His knack for clamping down on the opponent's No. 1 wideout has been significant for the NFC North-leading Packers (8-4).

''Sam likes the challenge, and he's confident in his ability to cover one-on-one,'' Green Bay defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. ''So he's always excited, I think, when he's locked up one-on-one because he feels that he can win.''

The latest proof came in the Packers' 27-23 comeback win on the road against the Detroit Lions on Dec. 3.

Lions star receiver Calvin Johnson was targeted eight times but had only three catches for 44 yards. One of those receptions came on an incredible 17-yard touchdown catch along the sideline, as Johnson somehow kept both feet inbounds while tightly covered by Shields.

''To me, the catches, you don't want him to get it, but I did a hell of a job on him,'' Shields said. ''There were some plays he made - that's Calvin Johnson - but I think I did a hell of a job guarding him.''

Shields has no interest in being labeled a shutdown corner. The converted college receiver, who signed with the Packers as an undrafted free agent out of Miami in 2010, says he still has much to hone at his position.

Yet, Shields is looking forward to his rematch with Bryant on Sunday.

Eleven months ago, Bryant outjumped Shields for a spectacular catch near the sideline on fourth down. But when Bryant fell to the ground at the Packers' 1-yard line, the football came out of his hands.

The officials' ruling of a completed 31-yard catch was overturned by replay review, giving the ball back to the Packers. They ran out the last 4 minutes, 6 seconds to secure their 26-21 comeback win in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Shields has no interest in rehashing the play when he matches up with Bryant again.

''The last couple times we played against each other, there's never been any words,'' Shields said. ''He's quiet, and I'm quiet, and we just play football. I don't think we'll talk about it.''

NOTES: McCarthy said C Corey Linsley, who reinjured his ankle in the last game, will be hard-pressed to play Sunday. Linsley hasn't practiced this week and is doubtful on the injury report. JC Tretter started in place of an injured Linsley in the Thanksgiving night loss to Chicago. . RT Bryan Bulaga (ankle), LB Nick Perry (shoulder) and rookie WR Ty Montgomery (ankle), who has missed the last six games, are questionable. LT David Bakhtiari (knee) and RG T.J. Lang (shoulder) are probable. Lang didn't play at Detroit.