Anthony Fasano was the No. 53 overall pick out of Notre Dame in 2006 by the Dallas Cowboys. He spent two years in Dallas before heading to the Miami Dolphins, where he spent the last five seasons. Fasano has missed just four regular season games in his seven years in the NFL. He has 205 receptions for 2,373 yards and 24 touchdowns in his career.
Herbie Teope wrote a piece months ago on the tight ends in Andy Reid's offense and how important that position was to Reid's offensive philosophy.
"The relationship between a QB and TE is very important because of the route concepts," Detmer said. "The tight end is a big part of it because if he's not the primary receiver, he's almost always the secondary receiver. That becomes a real big deal to a West Coast offense with the TE."
Former Philadelphia Eagles QB Koy Detmer, who played under Reid for six seasons.
When you pair together how important Reid views the tight end position with the investment they made in Anthony Fasano on a 4-year, $16 million deal, it gives you an idea on how Reid must feel about Fasano. According to spotrac.com Fasano's average salary throughout the length of his deal would currently rank him No. 19 in the NFL among TEs.
Stat-based website Pro Football Focus had this to say about Fasano.
Another multi-talented tight end who is coming off a down year. He went through a rough patch midseason with six straight single-catch games. However, he has been incredibly consistent with just three dropped passes over the past three years. From 2008-2011, he ranked in the Top 6 each year in terms of run blocking. He wasn't as dominant in 2012, but that is more likely an exception rather than a new trend.
I went back and watched Anthony Fasano and the Miami Dolphins play the Oakland Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals, Arizona Cardinals and Jacksonville Jaguars last season. I took notes on what I saw and (thanks to Clay Wendler) I grabbed four plays from Fasano that show what he'll bring to the Chiefs offense.
The first thing that jumped out to me while watching these games is Fasano's run-blocking ability. It's something that's been talked about since he's signed and it has been validated while watching him play. In this GIF below you'll see Fasano's ability to the seal the edge for Reggie Bush on this long touchdown run.
Left tackle Jake Long initially helped Fasano before taking on the linebacker that was shooting through the gap. There were at least a dozen plays just like this one that I saw Fasano handle his defender and move him wherever he wanted him to go. He sets the edge and gives Bush a lane to run through.
Fasano also had a few instances where defenders weren't exactly appreciative of his willingness to block through the whistle. In their defense if I was getting shoved all around the field I'd be annoyed too. Fasano would line up at fullback at times but I don't remember ever seeing him split-out in the slot. He was always in-line in a 3-point stance. Why split-out one of your best blockers?
In the GIF below we'll get a look at Fasano's pass-blocking ability.
The Dolphins were doing the smart thing in keeping as many guys to block as they could against the Bengals pass-rush, which finished third in the NFL last season with 51 sacks. The Dolphins kept both TEs and the running back (eight guys total) to block five Bengals rushers. What's interesting is that they left Fasano 1 on 1 against Bengals DE Robert Geathers, who has 30 pounds on Fasano.
The Dolphins' coaching staff scheming Fasano to take on a defensive end like that tells me more than anything I could take away on my own accord from the few games I watched. They obviously feel comfortable with him in that situation.
Fasano did get stood up once by Bengals DE Carlos Dunlap which led to CB Nate Clements forcing a fumble in the red zone. It wasn't Fasano's guy that forced the fumble but it was the one time I really noticed Fasano struggling to move his man.
As a pass-catcher Fasano shows very good hands and solid route-running ability. But he's not a dynamic athlete so don't expect a Vernon Davis-like season with new Chiefs QB Alex Smith, who loved throwing to his TE in San Francisco. Fasano may end up being one of Smith's favorite targets but I wouldn't start him on my fantasy football team.
Fasano has just one season with over 500 yards receiving in his seven-year career. He averaged 420 yards receiving over his five seasons in Miami. He also has just four career catches of at least 27 yards or more in those seven seasons. Compare that to Tony Moeaki who has three catches of at least 27 yards in just two seasons.
Despite not having a lot of 'big plays' throughout his career, Fasano has still managed to average over 11 yards per reception in his seven seasons. He excels in these intermediate routes and because he doesn't have that 'elite' athleticism and as Pro Football Focus had said earlier, has dropped just 3 passes the past three seasons, he has a great ability to catch passes in traffic and with defenders right there with him. He will be a solid option for Alex Smith.
Fasano does a great job coming out of his route and not rounding it off on this play. He starts breaking down his feet at the 48-yard line and within a yard (47) he's already broke outside on this out-route with his head around to catch the pass and get up-field.
Solid, not flashy
Fasano is a solid pickup for the Kansas City Chiefs. He's going to help in the run game with his blocking ability and he's a safe, reliable pass-catcher for Alex Smith. Don't expect too many big plays down the field but when you see a long Jamaal Charles touchdown run there's a good chance that Fasano was doing the dirty work that goes unnoticed by most (but not AP!).
Considering Alex Smith is known for his 'check-downs' I'd say there's a good chance that Fasano has a career-best year in terms of receptions considering his best year was in 2012 with just 41 receptions.
Something else I noticed when I was watching the Eagles last season for the Nick Foles breakdown was the Eagles didn't use many double-TE formations. At least in those last games with Foles they didn't. If that carries over to the Chiefs next season how do you see the time being split between Fasano and Tony Moeaki? Maybe they split-out Moeaki and keep Fasano in-line?
It gives the Chiefs options on offense considering the defensive personnel packages with the Chiefs offense having two TE's will have to be heavy.