Ernie Sims, the Eagles' new weakside linebacker, might be the highest-profile starter attending rookie camp, as he gets a handle on the Birds' defensive scheme. With no pads during these practices, you really notice that Sims is not big. His listed measurements of 6-foot, 230 could be overstated. But you also notice he's really, really quick. It's noncontact, so the offensive line was doing more shadowing than blocking, but Sims really motored into the backfield on a blitz yesterday.

"I'm real confident in blitzing," Sims said. "That's something I like about this defense . . . the more the coaches put me in that situation, I'm going to take advantage of it."

The rap on Sims is his aggressiveness, which apparently can make him an easy target for misdirection. That charge was often leveled at Jeremiah Trotter in his prime, as well. Sims isn't conceding much there.

"I don't listen to the criticism," he said. "Everybody's going to have something to say, but at the end of the day, it's all about what I do on the field . . . I feel like, yeah, I make mistakes, but at the same time, I cover up for those mistakes with great plays, also. I'm excited to get the season started so I can show Philadelphia what I can do."


Eagles fourth-round rookie quarterback Mike Kafka, a Chicago native, will not be rooting for the Flyers in the Stanley Cup finals, scheduled to start Saturday. "I'm rooting for the Hawks this time," said Kafka, who was born a little more than 26 years after the most recent Chicago Stanley Cup championship, which came in 1961. Obviously, Kafka's prime concern right now is the Eagles' offense, and learning the QB position. Despite Lehigh-level heat, he stayed on the field long after yesterday's rookie- camp workout, throwing to undrafted free-agent wideout Chad Hall, from Air Force . . . The Eagles have hired a new regional scout, Daniel Jeremiah, as part of the continuing shuffle that accompanied Tom Heckert going to Cleveland and Howie Roseman succeeding him as the Eagles' general manager.