Eagles see Sims as starter
The Philadelphia Inquirer Blog - Eagles
Eagles see Sims as starter
Jeff McLane, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Eagles picked up another linebacker with the addition of the Lions' Ernie Sims, who came via a three-team trade, but even he admitted that he didn't quite know what his role would be next season.
"The only people I've spoken with from the Eagles are Howie [Roseman] and coach [Andy] Reid," Sims said today during a conference call with reporters. "Coach Reid said he was excited. But I haven't heard anything about where I'm going to play. I'm ready to jump in and learn as much as I can. I'm like a sponge right now."
According to Eagles, though, Sims is being brought it to start.
"He’s a starter in the National Football League, but we’re trying to create competition," Roseman said. "We have a lot of starters on our defense and our offense. We think he brings that.”
Roseman said that Sims could play either weak-side or strong-side in the Eagles' defense. The Eagles also view Akeem Jordan, who has mostly played weak-side, as being able to play both outside linebacker positions.
"I don’t expect to come in and have them just hand me the job," Sims said.
Sims said that he can play all three linebacker spots, adding that he lined up at all three positions last season depending upon the Lions' scheme and an opposing offense's alignment. Second-year guy Moise Fokou is penciled in as the starting strong-side linebacker, but the Eagles could be looking for an upgrade.
The Eagles have had trouble finding a SAM linebacker that can cover a tight end. Sims said he has had that responsibility before. Still, his size (6-0, 230 pounds) is better suited for the WIL spot.
The Eagles acquired Sims in a three-team deal that had the Denver receiving the Eagles' 2010 fifth-round draft pick (137th overall) and Detroit acquiring Broncos tight end Tony Scheffler and a seventh-round pick.
A 2006 first-round draft pick, Sims had 49 tackles in 11 games (eight starts) last season. The 25-year-old missed part of the season with shoulder and hamstring injuries. He suffered a sprained AC joint in Week 2 and tore his hamstring in the middle of the season.
"I'm healthy now," Sims said. "But I was able to come back from both injuries last year."
Sims didn't miss a game in his first three seasons in the NFL, recording over 100 tackles each year. He lead the Lions with 144 tackles in his rookie season.
"Ernie Sims is an impact player at the linebacker position," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "He brings a lot of energy to our already energized defense. We are looking forward to adding him to our team."
Sims said that he didn't know much about the Eagles defense, other than it was a 4-3 base and that his former college teammate at Florida State, Brodrick Bunkley, was a starting defensive tackle.
"We are excited to acquire Ernie Sims," Roseman said. "He plays fast, he's aggressive and he style is a great fit for our defensive scheme. He is a leader who was a team captain for the Lions and we are eager to see what he can do in our defense."
Bringing Sims in could lessen the likelihood that the Eagles would extent an early-round draft pick on a linebacker. They have other needs and could feel that exchanging a fifth-round pick for a proven linebacker fills that particular need. The Eagles still have ten picks -- first round (24th overall), second (37, 55), third (70, 87), fourth (105, 121), sixth (200) and seventh (243, 244) -- in this year's draft which begins Thursday.