Ernie Sims to start vs. Atlanta

IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys will start their third different weakside inside linebacker in as many weeks with Ernie Sims getting the call Sunday at Atlanta.

Sims will replace Dan Connor, who took over for Sean Lee but will not play against the Falcons because of a stinger.

Sims signed with the Cowboys on Oct. 24 but in three practices was able to learn enough of the sub package to be effective against the New York Giants. This week Sims has been force fed the Cowboys’ base defense.

“The great thing is he doesn’t have to know everything,” defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said.

“He just needs to know everything on the game plan. So we’ve taught that a lot to him. Ernie’s really smart so not only is he really tough. He’s really smart. Now he’s not really tall but he’s got everything else going for him. I love this guy. He’s been what we thought he was. He’s tough, he’s smart, he loves football, looks like he really likes his new teammates. I expect being things out of Ernie. I think he’s going to play great.”

Ryan said Sims will play “a ton” against the Falcons but also said Alex Albright and Orie Lemon will get time next to Bruce Carter.

It’s been quite a trip for Sims, who wondered if his career was over after not going to training camp with a team in the summer.

“Sitting at home a couple of weeks I was kind of baffled I wasn’t on an NFL team from the get go,” Sims said. “But now that I’m on a team I did whatever I can to get back on the field and help my team out whichever way I can last week to get a win. The coaches was impressed with what I did last week and they decided to give me a start this week. Just like last week, I’m going out there to do my job and help this team. I’m excited. Just being part of the Dallas Cowboys, back in the NFL and seeing Sims on the back of my jersey is a blessing. I’m excited. I can’t wait.”