Could a phone call at the end of August lead to a trade for Fasano? Probably not. But something to keep on the back burner...http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/sport ... ht-/nPdNM/
Posted: 5:13 p.m. Sunday, June 24, 2012
Could Miami Dolphins’ up-tempo offense leave tight end Anthony Fasano down and out?
By Brian Biggane
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Anthony Fasano knows he’ll be facing a challenge for the Dolphins’ starting tight end job when training camp opens in a month.
The 6-foot-4, 255-pounder who is entering his seventh NFL season was a good fit for coach Tony Sparano’s run-oriented offense. But with Joe Philbin bringing in an up-tempo West Coast attack that puts an emphasis on speed and quickness off the line of scrimmage, Fasano could prove to be a square peg in a round hole.
General Manager Jeff Ireland hedged his bets in April’s NFL Draft when he used a third-round pick on Missouri tight end Michael Egnew, who routinely lined up as an outside receiver for the Tigers. Also in the mix is second-year man Charles Clay, who caught 16 passes last year and was prominent in the passing game during off-season drills.
“All that tells me is it’s an important position in this offense,” Fasano said during last week’s mini-camp. “That’s a good sign. They want the best tight end — or two or three — out there. It’ll be a good competition.”
While last year was a big year for tight ends league-wide, it was something less than that in Miami. Fasano finished 29th at his position in catches (32) and 23rd in yards (451) and was tied for 12th in touchdowns (5). While New England’s Rob Gronkowski and New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham have been redefining the position with 90-catch seasons, Fasano’s career high is 39 in 2010.
Fasano knows he’s widely perceived as a blocker first and receiver second. Asked if that’s unfair and could change, he said, “I don’t play to create a certain label in the public’s eye, but it could. I’m working to be proficient in whatever they ask me to do. If they ask me to catch more passes, I’ll do that, and if I’m called upon in the running game I’ll continue to do that.”
Philbin said he and his coaching staff haven’t gotten that far in their planning but he was impressed with what he saw of Fasano on film from last year.
“He caught the ball well and found a way to get open. I don’t know what his (40-yard dash) time is, but he found a way to find seams in the coverage and he has some instincts as a route runner.
“He has very good hands; we like the way he catches the football and finds a way to get open. (And) he can block on the line of scrimmage. He’s going to be a good player and I’m looking forward to watching his development.”
When it comes to run-blocking, Fasano, 28, said he feels the zone-blocking scheme being installed will work better than the man-to-man principles used under Sparano.
“We have some athletic linemen and we’ll be able to get on peoples’ edges,” he said. “It fits our team pretty well.”
He’s excited about what the up-tempo, no-huddle offense could provide.
“It’s not hurry-up, but we’re going to be playing fast. We’re going to be in good shape,” he said. “For me it means more perimeter blocking and running short routes where we get the ball out, substituting shorter passes for longer ones. Second-and-short is traditionally a running down but we’re going to pass a lot.”
While Fasano has his critics, teammates value him as a reliable performer (the website profootballfocus.com reported he didn’t have a single drop last season) who makes his share of plays.
“Anthony is a professional,” said wide receiver Davone Bess, like Fasano a four-year starter. “He carries himself well, takes care of his body off the field, he’s a student in the classroom. Even though he’s a veteran he approaches the game like a youngster. We know he’ll definitely have a big role this year.”