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Adding depth


Mike Thomas doesn't see any way the addition could hurt.

Thomas, the Jaguars' leading receiver, said considering the versatility and experience of wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker, there's every chance the veteran wide receiver can help the Jaguars' struggling offense.

He has NFL experience, and in particular, he has experience in the Jaguars' system.

Thomas said that doesn't make Sims-Walker a cure-all, necessarily, but it could give him a chance to make a contribution.

 "As a unit, we have to continue to keep pushing," Thomas said as the Jaguars (1-5) prepared to play the Baltimore Ravens (4-1) at EverBank Field Monday at 8:30 p.m. "Obviously, he adds depth to our core. We're obviously happy to have him back, so it's a good thing."

Sims-Walker, who played with the Jaguars from 2007-2010 and who led the team in receiving in 2009, re-signed with the Jaguars Wednesday, two days after he was released by the St. Louis Rams. He had signed with St. Louis as a free agent early in training camp.

Thomas, the Jaguars' leading receiver last season, again leads the Jaguars with 27 receptions for 301 yards and a touchdown, but as a group, the Jaguars' receivers have 607 yards receiving and three touchdowns.

Sims-Walker had 11 receptions for 139 yards in four games for St. Louis.

 "He's just another asset to our offense," Jaguars rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert said. "Mike Sims is a great player and he's been very productive here for a long time. Any time you can add an explosive guy like that into your repertoire it's only going to help this team."

Jaguars Head Coach Jack Del Rio said he expects Sims-Walker to readjust to the Jaguars' system quickly, though Del Rio said it's uncertain as of Thursday how much Sims-Walker will play against Baltimore. Because Sims-Walker was not with the Jaguars in training camp this season, Thursday's practice was his first with Gabbert.

Sims-Walker previously had played mainly with former Jaguars starter David Garrard.

"He's a bright guy, so from a terminology standpoint, he'll pick that up pretty quick," Del Rio said. "It's getting some of the timing down, with a different guy throwing him the ball, that type of thing. But from a terminology standpoint and a system standpoint he's going to pick it up very rapidly."

Del Rio said while Sims-Walker was seeking a higher-value free agent contract in March, he was a better fit for the Jaguars financially now.

"Right now it's an opportunity for us," Del Rio said. "We need a little boost in the passing game. He's a guy that's been here and done some things for us and I think he's at a place right now where's a little humble, a little hungry. A good combination coming back with a good mindset.  Hopefully he can plug in and give us a lift. . . .

"He's been a guy with strong hands and in our time here with him that's one of the things you know about Mike. It was evident from the first day in the first practice he was out here as a rookie in the first mini-camp. He's got good strong hands to the ball and he's a savvy route runner, knows how to set people up and sit down."

Sims-Walker, a third-round selection by the Jaguars in 2007, returns to the Jaguars with 133 career receptions for 1,787 yards with 14 touchdowns, with all of the touchdowns coming with the Jaguars.  He led the Jaguars in 2009 with a career-high 63 receptions for 869 yards and seven touchdowns and finished last season with 43 receptions for 562 yards and seven touchdowns.

"He's a young guy, young in his career, absolutely you can turn your career into something," Del Rio said. "I think that's what he has designs on doing and right now we're just taking it one day at a time; glad to have him back in the fold trying to remind him of the things that we do in our system and have him immerse himself in the game plan and spend a little time getting acclimated with Blaine (Gabbert) and with Luke (McCown) and be ready to roll."

Sims-Walker said he and the Jaguars' receivers had dinner Tuesday after he returned to Jacksonville, and during that time they discussed the receiving situation.

"I wouldn't call it struggling," Sims-Walker said. "We talked about what's going on, just the atmosphere. I wouldn't say it's one person. It's always a team effort. I wouldn't say it's just the receivers. It's the offense as a whole. We're 32nd in the league.

"Most of that is the receivers, but it's a group effort. We've just got to get better, each person."

Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis, who has 10 receptions for 116 yards, said the addition of an experienced player such as Sims-Walker, could help.

"Obviously, he's a guy who knows our scheme," Lewis said. "It's good we have another option. It's going to help everybody out. It definitely can't hurt. I don't know how much we're going to use him. I suppose they'll pick their spots with him in certain situations. We're ready to go."

Said Thomas, "He definitely adds another guy that we can plug in anywhere and everywhere. It pretty much adds another guy who can run, so it definitely adds depth to us. The things that have been there are still there receiver quarterback, quarterback/receiver – we need to continue to work at even though we made up some ground.

"We always need to grow in that area and that's our main priority right now."

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