Sims Continuing To Grow In Offense

Posted Sep 3, 2013

Rookie has the athletic ability to become a multi-dimensional tight end.

Dion Sims was rather nonchalant about his big first-half performance in the preseason finale.

The rookie tight end scored a touchdown in the first quarter, then caught passes on three consecutive plays late in the second to help set up a field goal, but, hey, it was no big deal.

‘When my number was called, when my name was called, I just went out and produced,” Sims said simply after the game Thursday night. “I just did the best that I could to execute.”

The way Sims executed against the New Orleans Saints in that game, the way he produced, just might lead to his number being called more often in the early stages of the 2013 regular season.

The Dolphins have been looking for one of their tight ends to step up in the aftermath of Dustin Keller’s season-ending knee injury, and Sims just might be the guy.

As an indication of Sims’ progress, he was listed second on the Dolphins’ first regular season depth chart after beginning the preseason fifth behind Dustin Keller, Charles Clay, Michael Egnew and Kyle Miller.

The fourth-round pick from Michigan State is looking to carry that momentum into the games that count in the standings.

“The tight end’s job is to be big and control the middle of the field,” Sims said. “I think I’m coming along well with that. There’s definitely a lot of stuff that I can work on. I’m just doing my job. When my name is called, I’m making plays.”

Sims’ touchdown against the Saints actually didn’t come in the middle of the field, but rather on a pass in the flat.

After catching Pat Devlin’s pass at the 6-yard line, Sims turned upfield and lunged into the end zone after a Saints defender grabbed him low.

It was a big play for a Dolphins offense that struggled in the red zone in the preseason.

“The red zone, that’s the money for the tight ends,” Sims said. “That’s where we come into play and we use our size and strength to overpower and get into the end zone.”

Sims’ performance against New Orleans was a nice bounce-back effort after the game against Tampa Bay, where he dropped a couple of catchable passes. No question, Sims remains a work in progress, but he’s also come a long way since the Dolphins first saw him in action at the rookie minicamp back in early May.

“I think I’ve already said this once before, I thought, ‘Wow, I don’t think this guy has got a chance,’” offensive coordinator Mike Sherman said Monday. “He came back for the OTAs and the rest of minicamp, and this guy made unbelievable progress. He has long arms on really low and high catches that normal tight ends weren’t going to make. He’s improved his blocking. He’s improved his route running, and I can’t say enough about the progress.

“Does he still have a ways to go? Yes, he has a lot of progress to make, but he’s come so far. In college he was a 280-pound tight end. I didn’t think he moved very well. To the credit of our personnel staff, they projected if he lost the weight he would be able to be the tight end he is right now. He’s done a very good job, and I think he’ll be a fine tight end in this league.”

Coming into the NFL, the thought was that Sims’ forte would be his blocking. After all, he was almost like an extra offensive lineman last season at Michigan State, but let’s also not forget he was a standout basketball player in high school.

So the athletic ability always was there for Sims to become a multi-dimensional tight end.

“I’m definitely showing that I’m an all-around guy and that I can be versatile and do both,” he said. “The better I am at that, the more I can help the team out.

“I will do whatever the coaches want me to do. Whatever they want me to do, I’m going to do it. I came out tonight and did what I had to do. I did my job and tried to execute as well as I could.”

Sims is mature enough and humble enough to realize he still has room for growth as a player, saying it’s his goal to get better every day so he can start playing like a veteran as soon as possible.

But Sims also isn’t shy about saying he’s come a long way since the spring and he’s only going to get better.

“It started back in OTAs learning the offense,” Sims said. “I picked it up pretty fast and now I’m ready to go.

“I’ve got all the confidence in the world in myself. I believe in myself.”