Updated: Jan 21, 2021
As Washington continues to free-fall through the 2020 season, a few bright spots have emerged from the rubble. Second year receiver Terry McLaurin’s ascension to team captain and a top 10 receiver has been exciting to witness, rookie back Antonio Gibson has shown flashes of exploveness and the duo of Montez Sweat & Chase Young could finally solidify a position that has lacked true impact over the last two decades. Another bright bright spot, and the focus of this article is third year receiver, Cam Sims. He has had the most productive stretch of his career with 7 rec for 171 yards and a touchdown over the last 3 games, after only registering 2 rec 27 yards in 2019. Last week’s game against New York was his best with 3 rec for 110 yards.
During his time in Washington, Sims’ flashes mainly occurred during the pre-season, but he also has had stints on the practice squad. Although only a small sample size, the former Alabama receiver leads the team with a 24.4 yard per rec average with most of his catches coming on 3rd down conversions.
Sims is now playing under new HC Ron Rivera and OC Scott Turner, who have shown increased confidence and faith in Sims as the season has progressed. Washington’s lack of veteran receivers, along with injuries, has opened the door for Sims to see an expanded role. Rivera showed, during his time in Carolina, that he prefers his X/Z receivers on the big side with Dontrelle Inman, rookie Antonio Gandy-Golden and Cam Sims all fitting the mold.
AGG is a talent that will surely flourish in time, but has struggled to stay healthy. Similar to Sims, Inman has also flashed making timely 3rd down receptions and recorded 2 TD’s on the year. Injuries have been an issue within the receiving core which has opened doors for others.
The Burgundy and Gold Report has been a Cam fan since he made the team as an UDFA in ‘18. Sims has maintained a small, but loyal following for his 50/50 highlight reels in past exhibition games, but his route running and ability to make plays after the catch has dramatically improved over the last 3 games. Second year receiver Terry McLaurin is clearly the leader of the group and his recent elevation to captain spoke to that. It’s been well documented that McLaurin and Sims are students of the game and watching film is something both pride themselves on. Cam would be wise to follow McLaurin’s lead.
What Cam Does Best
As previously mentioned, Sims had his best game as a pro last week, against the Giants. One particular play, although routine, highlighted how Sims can be an impact player. It was 3rd and 4 from their own 27 yard line with Sims running a standard crossing route with tight end Logan Thomas running a rub route, essentially acting as the pick man on the play. Sims caught the crosser in stride, knowing that the 31 yard line was where the first down marker was. He weaved upfield, breaking 3 tackles along the way to a 33 yard gain. On the play, Sims displayed just how much he’s evolved as a route runner as well as his heightened understanding of the depth that is needed to run the route effectively. It seems simple, but many receivers routinely run their route short and Sims’ understanding of route depth will go a long way in his maturation as a receiver as he expands his repertoire.
Although only three games, Sims has separated himself from the other Washington receivers and gained the confidence of coaches. In addition to making plays after the catch, Sims’ willingness to lower his pads as a blocker hasn’t gone unnoticed. With a gap scheme run game that has struggled to find consistency, more big plays will be needed in the passing game. As teams focus on Terry McLaurin, Sims will continue to see one-on-one matchups and have more chances for splash plays.
Rivera clearly had a desire to add a blue-chip receiver this offseason, after his well documented failed attempt to sign Amari Cooper away from Dallas during free agency. After the $100 mil “swing and miss” offer for Cooper, they settled for a journeyman in Inman. There is no doubt this team will likely use more resources during the offseason to upgrade the offense with an eye on receiver and tight end, after dedicating high draft picks on the defensive side of the ball. While they continue to search for more offensive weapons, Cam Sims will now have an opportunity with his 4th quarterback in two years, to cement his spot on this roster going forward. In a season in which finding bright spots can be difficult, having Sims ascend into a solid WR2/WR3 would be a big gain for a struggling offense during the rebuilding phase.
*Credit photos to Washingtonfootball.com and Elijah Walter Griffin Sr/Washington Football Team