Tight Ends Coach Lunda Wells -- November 22, 2019
Q: It looks like Scott (Simonson) could go from basically being on the street a couple weeks ago to starting this week. How big of a challenge is that for him, and how much does it help that he was here before?
A: Obviously, it helps a lot with him having familiarity in terms of what weíre doing here. He came back in really good shape, physical shape. Mentally, heís done a nice job getting caught up to speed in terms of what weíre doing now. It really helps having a guy that has been here kind of knowing what we do and how we do things. It was good to have him come back.
Q: How did he come back? Is he in shape? Is he rusty?
A: No, he did a nice job. Like I said, he did a nice job while he was out in terms of taking care of his body. Obviously, rehabbing from the injury, he did a nice job, hadnít seen any setbacks from that, which is a plus. He looked a little bit lighter, which is good. He did a nice job with his body.
Q: What does he bring in terms of his skillset?
A: Again, heís a guy thatís gritty, tough, physical. He understands how we want to do things. He does a nice job executing the techniques we want done in the run game. Obviously, heís capable of doing some of the things that weíre asking him to do in the pass game. He helps us in that aspect.
Q: Good blocking from the tight end is important against this Bears defense. He fits right in there, I would imagine?
A: Right. Yeah, he does. Again, against this team, against Chicago, theyíre a really good front. They do a nice job playing the run. They do a nice job rushing the passer, obviously. Having Scott here can help us in terms of running the ball. When heís in there, itís going to help us because you want to be able to run the ball and stay ahead of the chains against this team. Thatís where he does help us with that.
Q: I know you have no choice if they are your only two options but to trust them, but where are you with (Garrett) Dickerson and (Kaden) Smith if theyíre the backup tight ends?
A: Yeah, those guys have done a nice job in terms of what weíre asking them to do. Both of them bring, obviously, some qualities to the game in terms of what they do best. Those guys are ready to go if need be. Again, we have a room that all of them are doing a nice job of being ready to go when theyíre called upon.
Q: How big of a challenge is it for a guy like Kaden Smith, who wasnít here with you guys throughout the entire spring and through training camp, and then comes here and is trying to work his way in. Can you speak to the challenges of what itís like for a rookie to try to learn on the fly and really have an impact for you guys?
A: Yeah, it is challenging. But heís a Stanford guy. Heís a Stanford guy, heís from Texas, so heís a guy thatís smart. Heís done a nice job picking up the things weíve asked him to do. Heís been here for a while now. Itís been good to have him come in, and he didnít have to come in on a week that he had to go in and play. Heís been in the building for a while now, and so now getting closer to playing again, heís done a nice job being ready to go if heís called upon.
Q: I know so much of what you do week to week is game planning, next opponent and whatnot. But do you sit down with Evan (Engram) at all just to check in on him, because heís so good when he plays, but it just seems like the last couple of years, heís had these injury setbacks, just to make sure that heís not getting frustrated with staying healthy?
A: The biggest thing when guys get injured is keeping them involved. We do a nice job here as a team, keeping our injured guys involved in terms of keeping them in meetings. In our room, we keep them involved in terms of questions. Itís not just the guys who are up playing. Everybody gets asked questions, whether or not youíre on the practice squad, whether or not youíre on IR. If youíre in the meeting room, youíre going to get asked questions. Thatís good in terms of keeping them involved, in terms of what we have going forward. Again, looking forward to getting him on the field whenever he gets ready to go.