By SARAH BARSHOP
GREEN BAY -- Davon House came into training camp expecting to compete for a starting cornerback job opposite Tramon Williams.
Now, more than two months later, House is hoping just to get into a game after cornerback Sam Shields was injured in the Green Bay Packers’ 42-24 victory over the Houston Texans.
House suffered a dislocated left shoulder, and after learning he would not need surgery, wanted to be back by the first game of the season. However, through the first six weeks of the season, the cornerback has been listed as inactive on game day.
If House dislocates his shoulder again he will have to undergo surgery and will be out for the season. To avoid re-injuring his shoulder, House is wearing a harness, similar to one that cornerback Williams wore last year, to hold his left shoulder in place.
Despite being worried earlier in the season about his range of motion and flexibility, House said he has gotten used to the harness, and for the last four weeks he has been playing the way he wants.
“Actually I don’t ever think about it,” House said. “I broke up a pass today with my left shoulder and extended and reached out, and batted it down, no problem at all. So actually, it feels good with the harness on it.”
House isn’t expecting too big of a learning curve after sitting out the Packers’ last nine games because he’s been going “full speed” in practice against Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson.
This is certainly not the Packers first go-round with injuries this season, and the secondary unit can look to the wide receiving core that has played with the “next man up” mentality.
Head coach Mike McCarthy said that the Packers are fortunate to have the depth that they have. House went as far as to say that those further back on the depth chart are among the best in the league.
“We feel like the difference from our team and other teams is that our third and fourth strings can go to other teams and probably start, or compete for a starting job, so when guys get down, we’re not really too worried about other people stepping up,” House said.
The other person vying for the starting spot this week is rookie cornerback Casey Hayward, who has impressed McCarthy early in the season.
“I think he’s been steady since the day he arrived here,” McCarthy said. “He’s got excellent ball skills, he gets his hands on the ball quite a bit. He’s being given more responsibilities and he leads the team in interceptions. So that says a lot, for a rookie.”
And while House said that he feels the starting position is still Shields’ job, he has learned the hard way that if you get injured and someone plays well, it is hard to reclaim the spot.
“You don’t ever want a guy to be hurt, but my thing is to take advantage of the opportunity I’m getting. It’s a blessing to me to be here in the league, and injuries happen all the time, so whenever my name is called, if it is called this week, if it’s not, just to be ready.”
“I feel like I’ve been working hard enough and focused the last six weeks that when my name is called, I’ll be ready.”
House isn’t the only one who thinks so. The second-year player said that cornerback coach Joe Whitt was surprised by his quick improvement and recovery since the injury.
“Joe has even come up to me and said that he’s impressed that I dislocated my shoulder and I’ve come along so much since I’ve been hurt,” House said. “He said every week it’s just getting better and better.”
And while House said he hopes he’ll get a chance to get into Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams, he also acknowledged that the only thing he can do about it is to have a good week of practice.
“We’ll see after the week of practice,” House said. “The man with the best week of practice will play.”
Sarah Barshop covers the Packers for ESPNWisconsin.com. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/sarahbarshop.