So whether they’ll let Evans try to pick up the blitz against the Ravens’ dizzying buffet of pressure looks like he did so well on wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase’s 53-yard catch last week remains to be seen. The Ravens are a much different animal. The security blankets are Perine with his three career games against Baltimore and No. 1 Joe Mixon’s seven career games against Wink Martindale’s rushing roulette.
But even with Perine in there, Evans had been getting his chances to catch balls out of the backfield and that figures to keep happening after Sunday’s touchdown.
Special teams? As Simmons says, the reliable Perine “isn’t going anywhere.” Evans filled in on punt and kick return. If Perine is back, he’ll probably go back to just punt return and kickoff.
“He was productive,” Simmons says. “He was a part of three tackles. He’s not anywhere near being a finished product. He never played a snap of it in college. He’s learning.”
Evans appreciates the tough coaching from Simmons and his assistant Colt Anderson. The bar is high. When Simmons thinks of running backs in his program, he’s thinking of Cedric Peerman, a Pro Bowler, and Rex Burkhead, who could have been.
“I’ve heard a lot of stories from guys about bad coaches that just get on you and yell,” Evans says of special teams. “These guys are good coaches. They’re not going to yell. They’ll get somebody else to do it.”
Simmons has become one of the most respected minds in the NFL kicking game during this century with an old school meticulousness. He makes the Odd Couple’s Felix Unger look like an unmade bed.
This is how Simmons saw Evans’ Sunday:
“He said when I did make one of my tackles, I should have gone inside the blocker,” Evans says. “On the next tackle, I needed to keep my contain. The next tackle I got on punt, I needed to set more inside when I block. Even if you’re 100 percent, he’ll find something. I like that. It pushes you to do better knowing that nothing is perfect.”
He also likes it that Simmons and Anderson don’t yell. That’s how he coached it.
“This is our job. We can take the heat,” Evans says. “Some of these kids, they take some heat and they don’t want to play anymore.”
But Evans is quite interested in playing more. Anywhere.
“I’m a sixth-round pick,” says Evans, sounding like an old kicking game coach that he is. “I’ve got to contribute on special teams.”