Black and Blue all over: Sims' teammates

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

Jeffri Chadiha's profile of Detroit linebacker Ernie Sims contains a blunt -- but, I would say, accurate -- description of the Lions' recent linebacker groups. (This season, Sims has been joined by veterans Julian Peterson and Larry Foote.)

Sims: "We always talk about football and techniques but one the best things J.P. [Peterson] told me was that I have some players to help me now. That was important for me to hear because I've always had dogs around me since I came here. It's good to know I have that kind of support."

Indeed, not many people outside of Detroit could name the players Sims has started next to since the Lions made him their top draft choice in 2006. Last year's group of Alex Lewis and Paris Lenon were particularly underwhelming. Sims knew it, too. It's just a bit jarring to hear them described as "dogs."

You could argue that Sims hasn't always played like a Pro Bowler over that time. But to whatever extent his teammates held him back in the past, that dynamic should not be a factor in 2009.

Continuing around the NFC North: