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Emptying the Notebook: Rob Sims

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Rob Sims

To borrow a phrase from Mike Holmgren, Sims has been a lightning rod for criticism in 2007. It's a hard row to hoe when your own coach regularly calls you out publically, but Sims, more than any other player, really has been inappropriately scapegoated for things outside of his control. Sims has had his problems, in the second game of the season he quit on a block, allowing a sack. He had another poor showing against the Bengals, including one play where he actually blew two blocks against stunts. A year ago, the Hawks were 28th at preventing sacks, this season they've rebounded quite nicely to 16th. Sims, in a short space, controls his man, and what stats can't say is that Beck has routinely had good time in the pocket, and has suffered an inordinate number of cover sacks. His chemistry with Walter Jones is a protracted work in progress. Holmgren's recent use of "pop" blocks has helped Jones avoid getting beat outside, but also led to some ugly miscommunication, where bother blockers blocked in, and neither picked up the outside rush. Most noteworthy of which was the sack/fumble play late in the fourth against the Panthers that proved decisive. Early in the season, Sims showed some growth as a pull blocker, "but has yet to learn how to direct his momentum into his blocks." That growth has since been stifled by both a de-emphasis on rushing and specifically a de-emphasis on runs that employ pull blocks. His route running and feet are not on par with Womack, but he's a considerably stronger pass blocker. Still, from the it's hard to know how good your run blocking is when your running back is so bad department, it is worth mentioning that Morris averaged 7.2 yards per rush on runs up the middle in the 3 games Alexander missed. Those games were against the Niners (3.7 yards per carry allowed), Bears (4.3) and Rams (4.2), in which he recorded 165%, 104% and 295% of yards per carry on runs up the middle versus average allowed on all runs. Sims is a strength, a low cost right guard with above average potential as a run blocker, and elite potential as a pass blocker. As a left guard he's still very good and very valuable.