Simmons said he’s confident the Bengals will figure out how to replace Wilson, but he was disappointed for the player.
“I hate it more for him,” Simmons said. “We’ll be fine, we’ll get it figured out, but I hate it more for the kid. Brandon’s worked his tail off. Everybody around here feels terrible for him because they love and respect him so much. And I think the personal side of it really comes into play for him. We’ll get through it. It won’t be easy. We’ll have to do it in a variety of different manners, a variety of different ways, but it certainly doesn’t help.”
Darius Phillips, who has been returning punts, is the leading candidate to take over on kick returns right now, Simmons said. He finished the game in that role Sunday when Wilson went down, but his role as a punt returner wasn’t even locked.
Simmons said a couple practice squad players could also step in and there are some other candidates, such as Chris Evans, on the active roster.
“There’s gonna be inexperience when it comes to that for sure,” Simmon said. “As I told the group yesterday, when somebody gets hurt, what it does is it provides an opportunity for someone else to go out and show what they can do. I think that’s how you gotta view it.”
Losing linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither for at least three weeks also has an impact on special teams, though his role was less noticeable. He went on injured reserve with a foot injury Tuesday, and Bengals coach Zac Taylor indicated Monday it was unclear how long he could be out.
Simmons said he is used to having six linebackers active on game days and pulling from that group for special teams tackling, but with the Bengals using fewer linebackers and more defensive backs, he’s had more limited options. Davis was a guy he could count on, especially as someone who communicated well and played with intelligence.
The Bengals already lost another special teams leader from the linebacker position when Jordan Evans suffered a knee injury and went on injured reserve last month.
Sunday, Nov. 21
Bengals at Raiders, 4:05 p.m., CBS, 700, 1530, 102.7, 104.7