(Note: This continues a series in Daily Dolphin spotlighting members of the team individually. In addition to reliving highlights and lowlights of the past season for each, we’ll provide analysis and criticism, plus take a look at how each player fits — or doesn’t fit — into the team’s plans for 2017.)
TE Anthony Fasano
Height, weight: 6-4, 255
College: Notre Dame
Age: 33 as of April 20
Experience: Entering 12th NFL season
Acquired: Signed as a free agent in March
Contract: Signed for one year, $2.75 million
Pro Football Focus rank: 15th of 63 overall, first in run blocking and fourth in pass protection
Stats: 16 games, nine starts, eight receptions for 83 yards and two touchdowns for Tennessee
Straight talk: Much has changed since Fasano first joined the Dolphins as a 24-year-old via a trade with Dallas.
The most significant part: Fasano is now seen as a blocking tight end, as evidenced by both his No. 1 ranking by PFF and his mere eight receptions last season.
The interesting twist is that Fasano enjoyed some of the best receiving seasons of his career in Miami. He had a career-high 528 yards in 2010, caught a total of 14 touchdown passes from 2010-12 and had a career-best 41 catches in 2012 as he developed a reputation as a sure-handed target.
The Dolphins brought Fasano back into the fold as they were acquiring Julius Thomas from Jacksonville. With Dion Sims having departed for Chicago, that leaves much of the tight end blocking duties to Fasano and MarQueis Gray.
Possibly finishing his career with the Dolphins sounded somewhat natural for Fasano. He continued to live in South Florida while playing for the Chiefs and Titans and says, “I never had ill feelings when I left. I always followed and rooted for them and the guys that I knew on the team.”
Fasano says of his objective: “I’m searching for a playoff run and an opportunity to win the Super Bowl. That’s where I’m at in my career. I’m going into my 12th year and I’m not really concerned about stats or this, that and the other thing. I just want to make a playoff run and get a chance to win a Super Bowl ring.”
Prospects for 2017
Although blocking for RB Jay Ajayi will be Fasano’s chief responsibility, it would not be wise for opponents to discount Fasano as a possible target. For one thing, coach Adam Gase loves mismatches. Second, Fasano still can burn teams — witness his 5-yard touchdown reception from Marcus Mariota that beat the Saints in overtime two seasons ago. So it should not shock anyone if Fasano’s receiving total, even at age 33, inches upward.
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