Anthony Fasano: Miami Dolphins Need to Target Him, Especially in Red Zone

By Craig Ballard

New regime. New offensive coordinator. New offense. I do think the Miami Dolphins should look to get back to doing some old things with tight end Anthony Fasano, especially in the red-zone.

This is a franchise that has gone 31-33 since the 2008 season (that was Fasano’s first with Miami). That includes a 11-5 start to the four-year Fasano tenure at TE, but just 20-28 the past 3 seasons. Only that first Fasano season produced a playoff appearance. These numbers, and Miami’s overall struggles lately, do not paint a pretty picture. However, a closer look reveals how important Fasano has been.

Despite a losing record since ’08 the Dolphins are an impressive 11-5 in games where Fasano catches a TD pass. Even in those 5 losses the final deficit was one possession. We see that when Anthony Fasano scores, Miami remains very competitive in that game (winning most of those games). In his time there the ‘Phins are 13-11 vs AFC East foes, but an impressive 6-2 when Fasano catches a TD (a fantastic 4-0 vs the Buffalo Bills when Fasano catches a TD). We remember Chad Pennington and Fasano becoming BFF’s in ’08 when Fasano scored his career-high 7 TD’s. I thought he was used brilliantly that season by the veteran Pennington.

Anthony Fasano has 18 TD’s in a Dolphins uniform. A whopping 15 of those have come in the red-zone where he is a legit target at 6’4″ 255. In the new west-coast offense the ‘Phins will run we should see Fasano as a viable target throughout the entire field, and he has shown he is valuable in the red zone. Quick passes/reads are a major part of the west-coast offense, and Fasano has the ability to run a quick route and make a physical catch (in traffic). That frame is tough to bring down as he fights for extra yards.

Fasano is not a guy that can be a difference maker in the seam like some of the current NFL TEs, but he runs good/quick routes. Fasano will see a lot of playing time as he is very good at run-blocking, and even sees action as an extra pass-blocker (at times) on passing plays. One specific I would like to see more is having Fasano start a play as a blocker, then slip into an open space as a receiver. Almost a delayed screen. The 2012 Dolphins roster is not exactly stacked with play-makers, so I can see a solid option like Fasano getting an opportunity to produce. He is excellent at catching passes. Throw it his way, more often than not it pays dividends.

The QB battle will be watched closely by Fasano. I am sure he will feel he can produce if David Garrard is the starter, but as 2011 went on Fasano did develop a chemistry with Matt Moore. Miami has youngsters Charles Clay and Michael Egnew at the position. Both are significantly more athletic than Fasano, but as both are so raw we should see Fasano get an opportunity to get a lot of playing time (at least early on anyway). Clay and Egnew have high upside, but Fasano brings legitimacy to the TE position for the 2012 Miami Dolphins.

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