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Interview: Washington Football WR Steven Sims Jr.

Updated: Aug 18, 2020

ASHBURN, VA -- August 18, 2020 Washington Football Team wide receiver Steven Sims Jr. spoke to the media after the first day in pads.

On QB Alex Smith’s comeback:

“It’s definitely an amazing comeback for Alex. A lot of people probably thought he wouldn’t come back from that injury. But, he’s been working hard. You can see him every day. He’s here longer than most guys that are actually active here on the roster. That was last year. He’s in the building longer than those guys just working, recovering to get back to himself. It’s great to see that happen for him in such a fast period of time. I’m praying for him and I’m just hoping he continues to grow and be successful in the future.”

On the intensity of today’s padded practice:

“I felt like the energy was good today. I felt like as an offense we came out today flying around, making a little more plays than we did yesterday. I kind of thought the defense got the best of us yesterday. But today we put the pads on. It seemed like it was an energy boost for us on offense. I feel like we were rolling pretty good.”

On if Smith is throwing differently:

“I actually haven’t caught a pass from Alex yet. I watched him throw. He definitely seems like himself. Balls are coming out early, on time, before guys are even playing at the top of their routes. It looks very smooth. It seems like he’s letting the ball quickly, like he wants to let the ball go fast. It seems like he’s doing pretty well. I haven’t caught a pass from him yet, though it seems like he still has the same heat on there.”

On the work QB Dwayne Haskins Jr. put in during the offseason:

“You can see a lot of growth in Dwayne. Just energy out there, leadership. Once he throws a shallow route, somebody makes a play, gets a first down, he comes up and congratulates you every time. He’s settling into his role very well.”

On the amount of playmakers on offense:

“I definitely think there’s enough room. RBs J.D. [McKissic] and [Antonio] Gibson and those guys are going to come out the backfield and make plays. They’ll line up in the slot, get some screens, run a couple routes and things like that. It’s definitely going to give defenses a lot of different looks. Speed here, me and WR Terry [McLaurin] lined up on the same sides here, but we still have J.D. or Antonio on the other side in the slot, so we’re giving the defense a lot of looks. They have to play the whole field. They have to play us honest. Last year I felt it was a little cover two to Terry and somebody else make a play. I don’t think they’ll be able to do that to us this year.”

On a battle at slot receiver:

“I definitely believe that it’s my job to lose. But I still approach it every day like it’s not my job. We’re still competing. WR Trey [Quinn] and I are still going at it for the spot. We haven’t made any cuts, no roster changes or anything like that. I’m running with the ones right now but so does Trey. So does WR [Darvin Kidsy Jr.] So, I’m working hard and I’m trying to take the spot. But we’ll see.”

On what he wants to improve on from year one to year two:

“Just bettering myself outside. I didn’t line up outside as an outside receiver a lot. In this offense, they do have me lining up outside a lot. So just taking that and defeating press. 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.”

On how much more comfortable he is playing with Haskins Jr.:

“I feel like he’s really comfortable. I’m really comfortable with Dwayne. I feel like he’s looking for me when he wants to come to me and when he doesn’t. Just thinks like that, hot routes, I’m looking because I know he wants to give me the ball right now. Things like that that we’ve talked about. I feel like that’s growing and that’s helping our offense move along faster. We’re going to be more productive just based off of our chemistry.”

On if he approaches practice differently with pads:

“No. Not at all. You’re just carrying a little more weight, so you just have to condition your body. You still have to go as hard as you would without the pads on with the pads on. You still have to train your body the same way just so you get in shape and you get in condition to carry your pads. It’s extra weight you’re carrying. I don’t usually run around with maybe five to 10 extra pounds of weight on me every day. That’s probably the only change. I don’t approach it any different way. I still burst, I still go hard the same way. It’s just conditioning and getting myself in better shape.”

On if he was excited to practice with pads:

“I was definitely excited. I definitely was excited today. I feel like offense was maybe more excited than the defense today. I feel like we kind of got after them a little bit. I was definitely excited to get the pads on. You get that feel of football again. You get a little more contact, you get a little more physical. But you’ve got to have that in your practice reps to imitate the game reps.”

On his offseason workouts with Haskins Jr. and the other receivers:

“I feel like it was just growing from what we built and what we established last year as a young group. We all came in together so we’re all kind of close-knit. Me, Terry, WR Kelvin [Harmon], we just helped each other as we went. We had questions and things we asked each other. We asked [former wide receivers coach Ike Hilliard] of course last year, we asked Ike, but on the field sometimes when we’re in motion and the play’s being called, we can only depend on each other and whoever’s out there on the field with us. I feel like we just kind of grew on that and we’re headed in the right direction. It was a lot of fun, a lot of laughing, a lot of joking but we were serious. We were out there putting in work. It was business.”

On if they lived together in the offseason:

“No. We were out here. We were in Virginia. When Dwayne and Terry went to California I couldn’t make it. I was in Dallas training. But Terry and I want to say Dwayne, they had a house out there that they stayed at. Everybody was there, everybody was together. That’s fun, too.”

On what he worked on the most in the offseason:

“My catching and my route running, top of my routes. Just getting in and out of routes faster. Not taking as many steps to come out of my route. Things like that. Top of the routes, catching, maintaining my speed, maintaining my pad level, maintaining everything, make everything look the same.”

On what he worked on to adjust to playing outside:

“I’ve worked on my releases as well. That’s probably the main difference. There’s not as much space in the slot. There’s a thinner window to get around the defender outside. You can’t be pushed out of bounds; you can’t be pushed way into the defense outside. That’s pretty much what I focused on with that.”

On what he likes about how offensive coordinator Scott Turner has used him in this offense:

“I like the posts, I like the deep route. I can go check the deep ball as well. I have the speed to do it as well. I also love the reverses and little hand offs as well because that’s my game. Give me the ball in space and let me make a play. He has me doing everything. I love how he’s using me. I just have to continue to better myself and better my shape and take advantage of my opportunity.”

On the difference in the defensive backs between last year to now:

“Today was our first day really going against each other, so I feel like it’s really too early to say. But those guys, they’re playing with good tempo. They’re playing fast. CB Kendall Fuller, he’s smart. It’s an IQ battle with him. You have to know what you’re doing and use your technique. CB [Ronald] Darby, he relies on his speed. They’re both great defenders. But it’s a little bit too early to pick them apart and dissect their game. I couldn’t really tell you the difference between them. But [former cornerback Quinton Dunbar] on the other hand, last year he reads routes and he reads concepts. So that’s the only difference I can say. ‘Dunny’ knew all of our routes and our concepts last year and these guys kind of don’t, but they haven’t been in our system for years also. We’ll see.” 

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