It’s all about the opportunity.
When starting nose tackle Letroy Guion suffered a knee injury in Friday’s game at San Francisco, veteran Fred Evans was given a chance to show what he can do. The 6-foot-4, 305-pounder out of Texas State, beginning his seventh NFL season, is battling second-year man Christian Ballard for the backup spot behind Guion.
“I did some good things, but there are things I still need to work on, too,” he said. “This is an opportunity for me, and that’s what every NFL player wants. It’s up to me to make the best of it.”
One of things Evans did right Friday was get to the quarterback.
“He split a (double-team) and had a sack, and that is part of what we expect guys to do when they come in,” said defensive coordinator Alan Williams. “(We want them to) still play winning football.”
Evans began his NFL career with the Miami Dolphin in 2006. He played in only one game that year before getting released and signing as a free agent by the Vikings.
Last year was his most productive since joining the team. He played in all 16 games and had a career-best 35 tackles. In consecutive games against Chicago and Green Bay, he had a career-high six tackles in each.
He also played well in the 2009 postseason. Evans notched 10 tackles, six quarterback hurries, two tackles for loss and recovered a fumble in three playoff games.
But what Evans has done the last few seasons is inconsequential. The NFL is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league so the Illinois native is looking to add to this summer’s resume.
“I’m just trying to improve in all phases,” Evans said. “Some guys get labeled as run-stoppers and others as pass rushers, but I’m just trying to be the best defensive tackle I can be. I don’t worry about labels.”
Williams said Evans’ summer is off to a good start. The coordinator certainly didn’t want to see Guion get hurt, but Evans held his own when asked to step up.
“We are not necessarily worried about who is not on the field; we are worried about who is on the field,” Williams said. “(Fred) came in, and we didn’t miss a beat.”
It’s all about the opportunity.
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