A year ago, Jags receiver Mike Sims-Walker was an up-and-coming wideout. This year, Sims-Walker is regarded as a guy who has arrived as a second-tier elite performer — and as a result he’s upset that he’s not getting enough opportunities to prove that he should stay there.
In two games (both wins), Sims-Walker had zero receptions.
“You always want to be involved in the offense, especially when you think
of yourself as a No. 1 receiver in this league,” Sims-Walker said
Wednesday, per the Associated Press. “You work hard at it to be that guy and you go out there and
you really don’t get the opportunity to show it.”
Though he’s trying to brush if off, he realizes that receivers primarily do one thing — receive.
“I’ve never been a negative guy to try to make a fuss about it,”
Sims-Walker said. “I’m not going to sit around and cry or anything.
But I’m a receiver and I catch the ball. This is a production-based
business, and not even getting targeted is frustrating.
“I know I can play. I know I get open. I know I can catch the ball
pretty good and make plays. I’d like to be more involved, but I don’t
make the play calls around here and I don’t make the decisions to throw
the ball. It’s kind of like it’s out of my control. I’ve just got to
roll with the punches for right now.”
If “rolling with the punches” means “complaining extensively about it,” then that’s indeed what he’s doing.
“If it don’t get to you, you don’t love what you’re doing,” Sims-Walker
said. “It’s going to get to you no matter who you are. Even if I was the
No. 3 receiver and I didn’t get a target, I’d still be mad. You do all
that work and you don’t get rewarded. But we’re winning, so I can’t
really say much. I’ve just got to live with it I guess.”
Coach Jack Del Rio indirectly put some of the blame on quarterback David Garrard by pointing out that, against the Colts, Sims-Walker was open on several occasions but the ball wasn’t delivered to him. For his part, Garrard says that he’s not going to “force” the ball to Sims-Walker.
Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of this story is that Sims-Walker’s frustrations apparently have been stoked by fan interactions on Twitter. People who “own” him on their fantasy teams aren’t happy with his performance.
“That’s the worst part of it,” Sims-Walker said. “I’ve never seen this
many bitter people in my life. They’re calling me everything in the
book: ‘I’m benching you, you’re this, you’re that, you’re trash.’ It
kind of hurts a little bit.”
Thicken your skin, Mike. Or, better yet, say ta-ta to Twitter until the season is over.