NAPA -- At points last season, Raiders defensive tackle was Pat Sims was virtually unstoppable.
A Dec. 10 contest at San Diego immediately comes to mind, when he had 15 tackles and a sack against the Chargers. While stats aren’t an accurate barometer for a defensive tackle’s impact, there were games where it was fair to wonder where Big Pat went.
The 6-foot-2, 310-pound veteran was a source of frustration, because he showed flashes of how good he could be. If only, however, he showed up every week.
This training camp, the Raiders have seen signs that he will. Sims seems energized, excited about the prospect of playing with high-profile veterans.
“I really think this defense could be fierce and I want to be a big part of it,” Sims said last week. “I think it’s going to be an exciting year.”
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A motivated Sims is a dangerous one. That’s what the Raiders were hoping for when they brought him back on a one-year $1.45 million contract that can be worth up to $2 million.
So far, the returns have been positive.
“I see a completely different Pat Sims,” Raiders defensive line coach Terrell Williams said. “He can do anything he wants to do in this league. I truly believe that. He’s being physical. He’s pushing the pocket in the pass game. … Any time you can put that body mass in the middle, the defense has a chance.”
He’ll feature heavily in the base defense, especially on rushing downs, playing nose guard or defensive tackle. With the way Sims has been practicing, and the way he’ll be used, the sky seems to be the limit.
“I thought at times he played really well last year and there were some games that he was dominant in the games,” head coach Dennis Allen said. “I’ve seen a different demeanor out of Pat Sims this year, maybe a little bit different focus. He’s come in and really competed hard and he’s playing well for us right now. We’re excited about Pat Sims.”