At times, the preseason is a good indicator of who will make the team. And sometimes, it is not. San Francisco 49ers tight end Je’Ron Hamm has had some experience with it spending time in New Orleans and Washington before heading out west to California. The tight end played more than half of the offensive snaps in the final preseason game and ended up at the top of the receiving stats with four receptions for 65 yards while being targeted six times.
With the recent release of Bruce Miller, there is a possibility that his role could change. He was initially released when the team cut down to 53, and subsequently signed to the practice squad. The 49ers currently have Vance McDonald, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell on the roster at tight end.
Hamm played in eight special teams snaps in San Diego, (equals 38 percent of ST plays), which may not be enough considering the 49ers need to replace Miller there as well. It may require someone who has more experience and skills on punt and kick off coverage, the proverbial swiss army knife player.
I spoke to Hamm about his views of the competition at tight end and he believes it’s his self improvement that will earn him a promotion. Please take note that this interview took place following the fourth preseason game in San Diego, prior to Miller’s arrest.
How are you approaching the preseason and the competition at TE?
Just try to go out there and execute my plays and not really think about it so much as a competition with other people. We all push each other and have a great competition with each other but we all know that it’s a competition with ourselves. So to go out there and execute how the coaches teach us in practice and get the job done.
What was it about this game that you were able to get so much more open?
I’m not sure. I don’t know if I was more thinking about the details or...I know sometimes in practice my coach will get on me about trying to get open rather than trying to speed through the play. Today I was just think about the details, how to get open, what step to take to that will make a defender think I’m going one way and not another and just trying to be quick when someone’s trying to come tackle me. Get as many yards as I can. Gain an extra yard for my teammates.
Who has been your mentor in the TE room?
Definitely Vance, Celek and Bruce. Those guys have been there and I still consider myself a young guy. Being on the practice squad my whole first year, a lot of last season, so there’s a lot for me to learn so I just ask those guys questions, pick their brian, how do they block, where do they put there hands? They do a great job of helping and assisting anything that I might do wrong that they see. They help me and teach me how they do it and how I can get it corrected.
Even though Bruce is newer to the room, he’s a leader?
Oh yeah definitely. He’s actually the tight ends group leader. Bruce has played a lot of football so, football is football. He’s had a different position but he’s been blocking well. Being a fullback has a lot to do with that great blocking. And just playing the game at the highest level for as long as he has, he’s switched positions but he’s a baller so it doesn’t seem to hard for him. I actually admire his transition.