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Blake Bell discussed extended playing time for 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers rookie tight end spoke with the media about his expanded role in Week 12. We've got a transcript, and you can view video here.

The San Francisco 49ers lost tight end Garrett Celek to a high ankle sprain on Sunday, and that resulted in an expanded role for rookie tight end Blake Bell. He finished the game with 19 snaps, marking his second highest total of the season. He has three receptions for 67 yards, including a season-high 48-yard catch and run that set up the 49ers touchdown. All in all, it was a nice performance for the rookie.

The 49ers have cut down on the number of in-line two tight end sets, but it will be interesting to see if they figure out some alternative ways to use Bell. He has done some decent work as a pass catcher in limited opportunities. As the 49ers move further into their re-building process, the tight end position is one that needs to get further clarity. Vance McDonald is showing signs of life. Garrett Celek has been decent, but is a free agent after this season. Bell and IR'd Busta Anderson are two guys that will likely see significant opportunities next offseason and training camp. Getting Bell extra snaps these final five weeks would be a good thing.

On confidence gained getting extended playing time:

It was nice. Obviously with Celek going down, I got a little more playing time, which was nice. And for me, just getting out there, getting more reps, and I start kind of getting used to it. But I had fun, it's something I can build off of. And that's what I'll do, go out there and get ready for Chicago, and try and get better each and every day.

On changes to his body since joining team:

Not much. I went into the Combine at 250, I think I weighed in, but now I'm weighing about [2]62, [2]63, and that's what I usually play at since I've been playing tight end. Obviously with Uwe and the guys over there in the strength and training staff, doing a great job putting muscle on me, too.

On getting more physical as TE:

Absolutely. I mean, coming from quarterback, playing the position for so long, I can always get better with that, getting more physical. Watching those guys, and even these past couple weeks, seeing how physical they can get, it's something to watch and do better.

On differences between team's home and road performances this year:

Not really. I think it all comes down to just finishing the game. There's been tons of games, like even yesterday, and other games where we've been right in it, and we just have to finish the game.

On any QB snaps, or strictly a tight end:

No, I haven't [ laugh]. That kind of brings me back to Oklahoma. They used to ask me that my last year. But no, I haven't. I'm tight end all the way. But I mean, if they ever needed me, I'd be here. Whatever I can do to help the team.

On 48-yard reception:

It was a great play by Blaine. Obviously he got pressured and kind of was drifting away. I was just kind of running across the middle, and he just found me. It kind of looked like it would be a throw back but it wasn't. He just did a great job of seeing me there.

On Trent Brown:

He does a great job. He's a guy that's obviously right there, and we do some scout team together and all that. Trent's a good guy and works hard, and he's getting better.

On how 49ers can improve on third down:

I think just practice. I think we just have to get out there and continue to work on it. I think we're moving in the right direction. I think there's a lot of good things on film, and there's stuff we can correct.

On how close they are:

I think so. Like I said, I think we're moving in the right direction. I think there's a lot of things that we're doing good. And we just need to keep that up, and fix the things that need to be fixed. So you save some third downs, and things like that. But yea, we'll keep working on it.

On officiating:

I really don't have anything to say about that. They do their job on the field. They're refs, and I'm really not going to go into that. We play the game, and they make the calls.

On if passing game is becoming strength of offense out of necessity, especially tight ends:

Absolutely. Credit to Blaine. Blaine's doing a good job of finding the open guys. Even o-line, o-line's doing a great job of blocking for him. I think it's just, keep working on it, and it's coming together.

On breaking some tackles:

Honestly, I just felt one of the guys try to tackle me and I slipped off of it, and at that point, I was trying to see if I could get a couple extra yards, and that's when I lowered the pads to see what I could get.