As in the all-time classic film "Top Gun," the Eagles felt the need for speed - so they pulled the trigger on linebacker Ernie Sims.
Sims, acquired yesterday as part of a three-team trade in which the Eagles surrendered only a fifth-round pick, does not fit the prototypical dimensions of a starting NFL linebacker, but what he lacks in size, he makes up for with his legs.
"Quickness and speed, (that's) the name of my game," Sims said in his introductory press conference with the Philadelphia media. "I'm not the biggest linebacker ... (I'm) 6-feet, maybe 6-feet, and 225 (pounds) is my natural weight, but I feel very explosive and I feel very quick and fast.
"And speed, I take pride in that because it runs in my family."
Indeed it does. Sims' mother Alice was an all-american track and field star at Florida State and the apple falls even closer to the tree of Sims' father, Ernie, who also played football at Florida State for Bobby Bowden. Sims ran an official 4.50 40-yard-dash at the 2006 combine, but he added that he's run as fast as a 4.38 in the past.
Speaking of Florida State, Sims is now reunited with his college teammate and good friend Brodrick Bunkley, the Eagles defensive tackle.
Bunkley and I "are real excited to be back playing with each other and I see a lot of bright things in the future," Sims said.
So the big question that now faces defensive coordinator Sean McDermott and the rest of the coaching staff is how exactly do they plan on utilizing Sims' blazing speed?
"I had a chance to talk with the linebackers coach, coach Shuey, and he just told me that they want to put me at the WILL position," Sims said. "I knew that they liked blitzing a lot, and they said on third down they're going to need somebody to cover tight ends ... Being in a (division) where they have some good tight ends with (Jason) Witten and (Chris) Cooley, I'm more than welcome and excited to be in that position and I feel like I can fit in and do a great job with that.
"That talked to me about blitzing and also, in the running game, being downhill and making some big plays. Like I told coach, whatever positions you put me in, I'm very excited to do it."
Sims said they he spent more time covering tight ends in college at Florida State than he did in Detroit, but that's is something he's very comfortable with, adding "There's definitely not a lot of tight ends out there that can run away from me."
Still, Sims understands that in order to be effective, he needs to have room to run.
"When an offensive lineman's trying to get their hands on me, I've been working on it for years, not to let them get their hands on me because it's game over if they can get their hands on me," he said. "I've been working really hard about shedding blocks and getting to the ball as fast as I can.
"I fit right in at linebacker though. I'm undersized, but at the same time, there (are) not a lot of fullbacks that want to mess with me."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 2:58 p.m., April 20