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Skins.com:Early On, Simon Draws From Confidence


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There is nothing better than heearing good things about rookies!

http://www.redskins.com/news/newsDetail.jsp?id=17496

Early On, Simon Draws From Confidence

By Gary Fitzgerald

Redskins.com

June 1, 2006

The middle linebacker eyed the offensive set before him, and then barked out an adjustment at the line of scrimmage. He signaled to a safety to move closer, in anticipation of a running play.

From a distance, it appeared that Lemar Marshall, the Redskins' starting middle linebacker last season, had the defense well in hand during the OTA practice.

Except that it wasn't Marshall making the call.

_B1P6200inside.jpgKevin Simon (Don Wright Photo) It was rookie linebacker Kevin Simon, the Redskins' seventh-round draft choice out of Tennessee, who had stepped in for Marshall.

In the early going of his NFL career, Simon has already established himself as a vocal presence on the practice fields at Redskins Park.

Simon displays unusual confidence for a rookie. He calls out defensive adjustments--as required in Gregg Williams' aggressive schemes--and shouts out words of encouragement to teammates.

It's much too soon in Simon's NFL career to label him a leader, but he certainly displays leadership qualities on the field.

"When I'm out there, I know I have to make all of the calls," Simon said. "What I say goes and you can't be passive about it. You have to be authoritative in everything you're doing. You have to have confidence in the calls that you make. If you have confidence in your calls, then the guys around you are going to have confidence in what you're doing."

Simon has dived head-first into Williams' playbook.

"There's a lot to learn in this system," Simon said. "A lot of it is learning the terminology so that you can make all the calls and get the defense in the best position to make plays.

"That's something you didn't always have to do in college. You usually don't make calls at the line of scrimmage--you might have a check or two, but there are not as many adjustments."

Like all of the Redskins' rookies, Simon is making the transition from college to the pros. At Tennessee, he appeared in 30 games and recorded 237 tackles (139 solo), 5.5 sacks, eight pass deflections and 13.5 tackles for a loss.

In 2004, Simon suffered a knee injury that forced him to miss most of his junior season. He rebounded last year to record 88 tackles (40 solo), one sack and five pass deflections.

Simon is listed at 5-10 and 235 pounds. Entering the 2006 NFL Draft, he was regarded by some draft experts as somewhat undersized in a league where most linebackers are 6-1 or taller in height.

Simon was quick to point out that many undersized linebackers have gone on to successful NFL career. Two examples: Miami Dolphins' Zach Thomas and St. Louis Rams' Dexter Coakley.

"I don't feel that I'm undersized because there are guys who play at the same size at this level," Simon said. "So it's not even something I'm thinking about."

The Redskins were interested in Simon early on in the draft process. He was among the prospects who visited Redskins Park in mid-April, prior to the draft.

Simon is expected to compete for a roster spot and provide depth at the middle linebacker position, head coach Joe Gibbs said.

In OTAs, Simon is working with linebackers coach Dale Lindsey. He is watching and learning how the veteran linebackers play their position and approach the game.

"You try to pull from everybody," he said. "I'm fortunate to have a great coach in Coach Lindsey and he really is a good teacher. When you have good coaches around you, it always makes the transition easier."

Simon admits that adjusting to the Redskins' defense has been trial by error at times. He is not afraid to make a mistake--as long as he doesn't repeat the mistake.

"The main thing that I'm trying to accomplish every day is daily improvement," he said. "I don't want to make a mistake twice, but the way I look at it is, if you're going to make a mistake, you better do it full speed. Same thing with making the [defensive] calls. If you're going to make the calls, they might not be right sometimes, but you better do it full speed.

"Overall, I feel good about where I'm at, but I still feel like I have a long ways to go."

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I believe Simon was one of the rookies that JimmiJo and company pointed out as doing well at the rookie minicamp. Its always cool to hear about late-round and undrafted players doing well. Maybe if this guy, Doughty and Montgomery pan out, we might stop hearing all the crap about how the Skins can't draft....:)

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GREAT ARTICLE!! :) You could have quoted the entire thing for one of the "Why Joe Gibbs is a genious" threads on this site. The determination, passion, confidence, etc. that we got in a 7th round draft pick is a PERFECT reason why Gibbs and Greg Williams are such successful NFL coaches. That late in the draft, the players left are supposed to be, for the most part, practice squad and special teams players. I know Kevin Simon has yet to play a real game in the NFL yet, but it looks like we may have found a diamond in the rough. The "experts", for the most part universally trashed the draft we had, don't look at intangables the way our coaches do. I CAN'T WAIT for this season to start!!!!

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Maybe if this guy, Doughty and Montgomery pan out, we might stop hearing all the crap about how the Skins can't draft....:)
Of course, nobody's knocking the Redskins' EARLY draft picks. Those have been phenomenal.

Antonio Pierce went undrafted and became a star at MLB in Gregg Williams' system.

I *believe* that Lemar Marshall was a late-round pick, and he's become very solid at MLB.

Maybe this guy can do the same?

Clint

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Just a reminder to all ExtremeSkins posters: keep the source in perspective. Not to be negative, but remember it's the offseason, news is slow, and Redskins.com is churning out puff pieces almost daily. While all of us would be thrilled if Simon indeed panned out, I think there's only so much we can really trust from Redskins.com.

I much prefer outside source reporting on the Skins, because Redskins.com would never publish an article entitled 'Reed Doughty Missing Tackles' or 'Betts Not Giving 100% in Practice'. Redskins.com is going to tell us everyone on the team looks great, as it's part of their job to amp up the fans in the slow offseason.

I'm not knocking Redskins.com for their article on Simon. It's a good article and I'm glad to read Simon is doing well, as quality depth is something every team needs. I'm just saying to keep such articles in perspective. Every team looks great at this time of year - especially us, and Redskins.com only gives us the rosiest of viewpoints.

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honestly, this reminds me of another Antonio Pierce story. I really like this guy's approach, i'm confident that he will make an impact for our team in the near future.

:D I totally agree. I truly hope this is the second coming of Antonio Pierce: an intelligent, confident, and dedicated player who was unheralded coming out of college but fought his way atop the depth chart...let's all hope!

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Simon is a Stud, he's going to be the steal of the draft!

:D

Actually Skins fans aren't alone in that assessment. I was on the Denver Broncos site the OrangeMane and they said getting Kevin Simon in the 7th round was a steal. I mean, I know Denver fans aren't the sole football authority, but they don't have innate Skins homerism coloring their judgments.

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Simon was a great 7th round pick. He's undersized and has the kind of injury history that gives you the Taylor Jacobs jitters, but when healthy he's a real talent. He's going to be a boom-or-bust player: I can see him developing into a starter, but I can also see him not making the squad.

All those comparisons to similar sized linebackers miss one thing: those guys were tough. Really tough. Simon has suffered some serious injuries -- can he be as tough as those guys? If he can, he's got a chance. If not, well, it still wasn't a wasted pick.

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Just a reminder to all ExtremeSkins posters: keep the source in perspective. Not to be negative, but remember it's the offseason, news is slow, and Redskins.com is churning out puff pieces almost daily. While all of us would be thrilled if Simon indeed panned out, I think there's only so much we can really trust from Redskins.com.

I much prefer outside source reporting on the Skins, because Redskins.com would never publish an article entitled 'Reed Doughty Missing Tackles' or 'Betts Not Giving 100% in Practice'. Redskins.com is going to tell us everyone on the team looks great, as it's part of their job to amp up the fans in the slow offseason.

I'm not knocking Redskins.com for their article on Simon. It's a good article and I'm glad to read Simon is doing well, as quality depth is something every team needs. I'm just saying to keep such articles in perspective. Every team looks great at this time of year - especially us, and Redskins.com only gives us the rosiest of viewpoints.

The article was simply an interview with Kevin Simon. I don't think a critical eye on Simon is necessary at this point of his young career.

The article even mentions he's had some injuries and that the main concern about him--the reason why he wasn't drafted until the seventh round--was his size. So I disagree with the notion that the article is hyping Simon to be something more than he is.

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GREAT ARTICLE!! :) You could have quoted the entire thing for one of the "Why Joe Gibbs is a genious" threads on this site. The determination, passion, confidence, etc. that we got in a 7th round draft pick is a PERFECT reason why Gibbs and Greg Williams are such successful NFL coaches. That late in the draft, the players left are supposed to be, for the most part, practice squad and special teams players. I know Kevin Simon has yet to play a real game in the NFL yet, but it looks like we may have found a diamond in the rough. The "experts", for the most part universally trashed the draft we had, don't look at intangables the way our coaches do. I CAN'T WAIT for this season to start!!!!

There are always guys who look like diamonds in the rough at this point, or even later, that don't make the squad. I do think/hope your right about Gibbs and the draft. It makes sense that after a disapointing draft last year, Gibbs would get the brain trust working with focus this year. I don't think he sees any problems that don't have solutions.

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GREAT ARTICLE!! :) You could have quoted the entire thing for one of the "Why Joe Gibbs is a genious" threads on this site. The determination, passion, confidence, etc. that we got in a 7th round draft pick is a PERFECT reason why Gibbs and Greg Williams are such successful NFL coaches. That late in the draft, the players left are supposed to be, for the most part, practice squad and special teams players. I know Kevin Simon has yet to play a real game in the NFL yet, but it looks like we may have found a diamond in the rough. The "experts", for the most part universally trashed the draft we had, don't look at intangables the way our coaches do. I CAN'T WAIT for this season to start!!!!

The reason Simon fell in the draft was due to his injury history. I think I read the guy has missed close to three years worth of games due to injury. No one doubts what type of player he was in college. He just wasn't on the field enough.

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