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Steven Sims Loves How He's Being Used In Scott Turner's Offense

Elijah Walter Griffin Sr./Washington Football Team
Elijah Walter Griffin Sr./Washington Football Team

It was the first day of fully-padded practice and Steven Sims Jr. was sprinting towards the line of scrimmage.

He had just received a pitch from Dwayne Haskins Jr. on a reserve and was looking for an opening to turn upfield. Once he reached the sideline, he used his blazing speed to breeze past Washington's defenders.

Sims said he loves reverses and handoffs because he's able to make plays in space. That, along with being a reliable slot receiver for Haskins, was how he became a regularly featured piece in Washington's offense last year.

But Washington is running a new offense this year under Scott Turner, and he already has plans to use Sims as a more versatile weapon.

"In this offense, they do have me lining up outside a lot," Sims told reporters after Tuesday's practice. "It's new to me playing outside receiver in the NFL. I played it all the time in college, but it's different. I'll be going against better guys, better talent in the league now. So, I just want to work on being a great outside receiver just like a great slot."

Turner has seen Sims as a possible impact player for his offense since May, and Sims worked all summer to expand his skillset. He practiced his releases so he does not get knocked out of bounds when he lines up outside the numbers and focused on improving his hands to become a more reliable receiver.

That work was obvious to his teammates like Terry McLaurin, who spent time working out with Sims and Haskins. In fact, McLaurin said in June that Sims had "probably made one of the biggest jumps" from last year.

"He's always been fast, he's always been quick, but sometimes he possibly would slip," McLaurin said. "You could really tell his feet are so clean and the way he's running his routes, his stems look the same. I'm really excited to see him flourish in an offense that can showcase his versatility inside or out."

Sims said Turner has him doing "everything" on offense, and he loves the way he is being used. He especially likes running deep routes because he is able to use his speed.

Wide receivers coach Jim Hostler sees Sims working best in the slot. Last year, Sims made 23 receptions for 192 yards in the slot compared to just five receptions for five receptions for 119 yards as an outside receiver, per rotowire. Sims was also lined up as a slot receiver on 74.2% of his offensive snaps.

Still, Hostler sees some advantages of having a player like Sims who can work well on the inside and outside.

"You ask them to do specifically different things and you train them differently," he said. "So, that part of it is not handicapped."

Sims said he is competing with former seventh-round pick Trey Quinn to be the starting slot receiver, but he also "definitely believes that it's my job to lose." However, he tries to approach each practice as if that isn't the case.

"I'm running with the ones right now but so does Trey," Sims said. "I'm working hard and I'm trying to take the spot. But we'll see."

The game slowed down for Sims at the end of the 2019 season, and his play made an impression on Haskins, who called Sims an "electric" player who transformed himself into a reliable contributor.

Sims has already shown that he can be a playmaker. In addition to his 310 receiving yards, he also had nine rushes for 85 yards, most of which came on a 65-yard jet sweep that resulted in his first-career touchdown.

But as Sims told The Washington Post in June, he's not just a gadget player. He wants to be someone who can make plays regardless of where he is on the field. He's getting the chance to prove that now.

"I just have to continue to better myself and better my shape and take advantage of my opportunity."

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