Posted by Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson
Mike Sims-Walker has been terrific this year and clearly he is instrumental to the success of the Jacksonville passing attack. This was never more clear than last week against the Rams, as Sims-Walker not only had a big day on his own, but his presence also allowed Torry Holt to post big numbers against his former team and for rookie Mike Thomas to have freedom against single coverage as well. Marcedes Lewis has benefited from Sims-Walker's presence as well.
That is what top notch wide receivers do. They free up coverage for their teammates, but without losing their own productivity. Sims-Walker is now at that level and dictates coverages. He has terrific size and plays even bigger with his large catching radius and sticky hands to secure the ball away from his body. He has a very good understanding of how to shield the ball from the defender while also presenting his quarterback with a good target. He can go up and get it. He has strong hands and the ability to run through arm tackles after the catch. Sims-Walker is also very prolific near the goal line where he uses all of the above skills very well in tight quarters.
Sims-Walker obviously missed the Week 5 debacle in Seattle and Jacksonville was shut out. I am not implying that the Jaguars would have won that game or even made it a lot more competitive with Sims-Walker in the lineup, but to say he was missed would be a massive understatement. He has averaged just under 100 yards per game in the last four he has played and scored three touchdowns in that stretch. Obviously he is David Garrard's go-to guy and a major difference-maker in this offense. The big concern with Sims-Walker has been his ability to stay healthy, as injuries have plagued him mightily since arriving in Jacksonville. But regarding the injuries, so far, so good.
Going forward, Jacksonville has extremely key pieces in place for this offense for the long haul. The combination of Sims-Walker and Maurice Jones-Drew is one that most teams would kill to build around. Throw in two very talented rookie tackles and the foundation has been poured for a very bright future on that side of the ball. There remains some questions about Garrard, but I contend that he will be more than adequate with such a supporting cast -- especially if Jacksonville can get a lot stronger on the defensive side of the ball. But alas, there in lies the rub.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.