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The almost-forgotten Fauria

By Mark Solway | July 5th, 2006

Fauria is a name that has gotten lost this spring between names like Randel El, Lloyd, Archuleta, and (especially) Saunders. Having a 35 year-old TE come from New England to replace Robert Royal makes me wonder whether or not the signing is an upgrade or a compromise. While I don’t see the Fauria signing as the final piece to our Super Bowl hopes, I have to believe that he is an upgrade from our previous starting tight end. Royal showed some promise as a young player in the NFL, an injury ended his 2003 campaign only 6 games into the season. Injuries also inhibited his ability to contribute for much of the 2004 season as well, as he started only 9 games and had merely 39 receiving yards and no touchdowns through November. When he did finally find his place in the offense, however, he came on strong. He amassed 4 TDs in the last 5 weeks of 2004\x97all in the red zone\x97and I looked forward to seeing him give us more of the same in the following season. He failed to produce, however, and could not contribute to an offense that badly needed reliable receivers. All this talk about receptions isn’t necessarily fair to Royal, who is more of a blocking TE than a receiving threat. There aren’t great stats for measuring how well a blocking TE is performing. In fact, Fauria might very well put up similar numbers in his time here\x97especially when you consider how stacked the Redskins’ receiving core is already. However, a crucial element of being a solid blocking TE is longevity. Just like offensive lineman, you know that a blocking TE is doing well when (a) he shows up week after week and (b) the TV announcers never need to say his name during the course of the game. They are at their best when the average fan notices them least. Here is where I think Fauria might really contribute to this team. The most important stat that Fauria brings with him\x97in my opinion\x97is the following figure: 1 out of 9. That is, 1 game missed out of the last 9 seasons . We have yet to see if Fauria will truly have been an upgrade to our injury-prone Royal. Fauria is old, but he does come with a reputation of being a solid blocker and as having the ability to catch the ball when needed. And, despite his age, I think the odds are good that, come September through December, we won’t need to worry about whether or not #88 will make it to the game healthy and ready to do his job. In fact, the next time Portis breaks a 12 yard gash off to the strong side, I’m going to keep an eye out for Fauria when they show the instant replay\x97I’ll bet that he quietly makes his mark this…

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