So Just How Happy Is Ernie Sims Right Now?
Well just look at the smile, I'd say he is very happy right now.
Sims has been one of the lone bright spots of the Detroit Lions franchise since being drafted in 2006. His ninth overall selection was one of the lone bright spots of first round draft picks by then GM Matt Millen. Millen has since been let go, Sims is still smiling.
Ernie seems to produce no matter what the team is doing, averaging 123 tackles per year since he came into the league. That is good enough for an average finish of 12th in the NFL over that time, finishing 20th, fourth, and 13th overall in tackles per year.
With seemingly little help on the defensive front, aside from now departed Shaun Rodgers, Sims has been very productive. Also he hasn't played next to an equal caliber player in the middle linebacker spot, well...ever. Then comes the 2009 season.
All Lions' fans wanted the world renown DT Albert Haynesworth, when he hit the free agent market. But, as new Coach Jim Schwartz and GM Martin Mayhew said, they would not break the bank on one player, but rather, sign mid level talent at a much lower cost. The biggest upgrade we found via free agency for the defensive line was Grady Jackson.
In 2008 Jackson was certainly a run stuffing, mammoth of a man. At 6'2" and 345lbs, he helped the Falcons' Keith Brooking in registering over 100 tackles.
He also brings a veteran leadership role to Sammie Lee Hill, drafted in the fourth round of the 2009 draft. Hill also has great size but is a raw talent that needs to prove he can play in the trenches and hold his ground in the run game against much tougher competition than he played against at the college level.
The trade of Cory Redding to Seattle for all pro linebacker Julian Peterson seems to be a great move. In 2008 he posted 86 tackles, but his ability to defend passes and rush the passer may be his best attributes.
Sims and Peterson seemed to be a great duo of linebackers for the Lions, and with no middle linebacker prospect drafted this season, no one knew who would play inside.
Would it be the under-sized yet highly drafted Jordan Dizon, who played in 12 games, but never started. Or would it be the rookie outside linebacker converted to play inside in DeAndre Levy.
Both could probably fill the void with much more talent around them now in Detroit.
Looking back at this weeks acquisition of, two time Superbowl Champion Larry Foote will do much more than fill the void left at middle linebacker. He will smack the void in the face and solidify a complete turn around of the Lions defense.
The secondary had an almost complete renewal, as they could have all new faces playing this season.
Couple that with a bolstered up offense that can hopefully keep the defense off the field, and we are looking at a much brighter future than once thought.
So just how happy is Ernie Sims?
In a pre-draft interview found on mlive.com, Sims says about some of the new players brought in, "as of right now, I feel comfortable with them. I'm confident. I know a couple of them from the past, and I've seen them play, and I know they're pretty good."
He may be down playing it just a bit, they are pro bowl caliber players, and with the addition of Larry Foote inside, I'd say Ernie is very excited to start the regular season. And, maybe, just maybe, he won't have to be the lone bright spot in Detroit anymore.
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