Dunno, major part of the storyline maybe?
They are in the picture though, which makes them a major player by default. Will they interfere? Is Punk the figure dictating them or not? The fact that they've involved them two weeks or so heading the Rumble is a wise move because, quite frankly, management and the writers aren't currently trustworthy of writing something like five weeks of material for the group before the PPV without somehow compromising them or the angle.
The best thing that could be said about The Shield's current situation is that they're a presence in the viewers and wrestlers minds. They're always watching and moving about somewhere in the building, largely enigmatic in their existence, and uncompromising in picking the face targets. That's fine to a degree, although it's probably made a lot of people sick of their act already. Again, a case of overdoing their appearances and act, at least in my opinion.
Well yeah, that's like saying if Punk dropped the belt and went on a 12 month losing streak that he would be buried. There's no way you can say they are directionless at the moment though, I sometimes wonder if people on this forum actually watch the product.
I get the gist of what you're saying. However, it would take the match at RR being contested clean of their interference and weeks of going about their act of massacring faces afterward to say, with 100% confidence and certainty, that they've been directionless since TLC. What has been given to them since that PPV that was a legitimate program? Nothing. They just come in and do their stuff on top faces week in and week out. Nothing concrete except writers having them randomly destroying stuff.
This notion, of course, will all but disappear if they do interfere in the WWE title match, which they'll likely do in some capacity. It doesn't entirely erase the idea that they haven't dome anything worthwhile from December until the Rumble, but their part in this angle would give them something digestible and with a clear-cut direction.