Phillip Sims steps up in Arizona Cardinals’ loss to San Diego Chargers

Aug 23, 2015, 12:12 AM
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Phillip Sims (1) scrambles against the San Diego Chargers during the ...
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Phillip Sims (1) scrambles against the San Diego Chargers during the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
(AP Photo/Matt York)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — In Arizona’s 22-19 loss to the San Diego Chargers Saturday night, Phillip Sims put his name squarely into the discussion for the Cardinals’ third quarterback job.

The undrafted rookie free agent from Winston-Salem State entered the game in the fourth quarter and went on to complete 8-of-13 passes for 82 yards while adding another eight yards on two rushing attempts. He showed good poise moving around the pocket, and his accuracy was nothing to be ashamed of.

Oh, and he guided the Cardinals to 10 points, even tying the game up with less than three minutes remaining.

Speaking of Sims, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said he thought the QB had, “a really, really good fourth quarter and had good command of what he was trying to do.”

Sims, who threw a touchdown pass in last week’s game, was less enamored with his performance.

“We didn’t finish it, so I couldn’t give it a complete grade,” he said. “Because we didn’t finish it. I felt like we left a touchdown on the field. Got the field goal, but if we score the touchdown we probably win the football game.

“And I take that on me as the quarterback,” he added. “I’ve got to find a way to put that ball in the end zone. Somehow, some way. I’ve got to maybe go all the way through the progression, maybe start my progression somewhere else. I don’t know what I’ve got to do, but I’ve got to find a way to put that ball in the end zone. So to me, it’s an incomplete grade.”

Be that as it may, Sims’ effort was such that he did nothing to damage his chances of making the team. Logan Thomas, the player he is battling with for the job, did not complete any of his four passes, though his receivers did little to help his cause.

Asked if the last two games — and few weeks of training camp, really — have yielded a clearer picture of who is leading the competition for the third quarterback job, Arians said he will judge things by watching the tape.

“But we’ll see how it goes,” he added.

The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Sims, who attended Alabama and Virginia before Winston-Salem State, said he’s picked up Arizona’s system quickly in large part because of how many different offenses he had to learn throughout his college career.

“That definitely helped my transition here,” he said. “Some of the terminology is very similar to some of the systems I had in the past. But just going in and out of systems, it helped coming in and knowing how fast you have to pick up a new system.”

Mastery of the team’s offense would go a long way toward earning a job, though as Arians said, he’s not ready to handicap the race between Sims and Thomas.

For Sims, needing to take things day-to-day is not an issue.

“It’s been day-to-day for me since the day I got here,” he said. “A tryout, didn’t know if I was going to get signed. Got signed, didn’t know how long I was going to be here. Didn’t know if I was a camp arm, didn’t know if it was an actual opportunity.

“So everything is day-to-day with me. You’ve got to look at it that way, process it and go out every day and work. Give them every reason to keep you and make it hard for them to cut you.”

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