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Old 08-14-2007, 08:53 AM   #1
83-Steelers-43
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Default Faneca debates versatility question

Faneca debates versatility question
Tuesday, August 14, 2007

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Alan Faneca belongs among the best guards in the league and was voted to the past six Pro Bowls. He even made the Pro Bowl at guard when he gladly moved to left tackle in 2003 to start nine games there for an injured Marvel Smith.

But, if he were asked to do the same thing this season, Faneca might balk at it.

The Steelers are trying to find ways to build a game-day offensive line. In order to do so, they need linemen who can play more than one position. That is why starting right tackle Max Starks has been playing left tackle lately. It is why right guard Kendall Simmons took snaps at center in the spring and a few times this summer. It likely is why Sean Mahan, who can play guard and center, became the team's only significant signing in free agency.

Line coach Larry Zierlein, if tradition holds, will be given seven names to man five spots each game day. That's fine, unless an injury or two occurs. Then, he has to start shuffling.

"Here's the thing," Zierlein explained. "If you dress seven on game day, you have to have somebody who can go both sides."

That's another reason Faneca is so valuable. He has shown he can play left tackle, too. It is considered a logical option if something were to happen to Smith during a game -- move Faneca to left tackle and put Chris Kemoeatu at left guard.

"You know, we haven't approached Alan with this, but Alan has played some there," Zierlein said. "And Chris is playing really well right now. He's a guy who can always step in to that guard spot if Alan went out there" to tackle.

Unlike his move in 2003, Faneca is uncertain he would go willingly along with the switch this time.

"In the middle of a game? Ahh, I don't know," Faneca said after practice yesterday. "We'd just have to see about the situation and all that."

Faneca was unaware his coaches were thinking of that as an option, so he gave it some thought before answering.

"In the middle of a game, it would be hard [not to do it]. But you never know, you never know. I'm not saying yeah and I'm not saying no."

Faneca, upset the Steelers have not signed him to a contract extension, has said this will be his last season playing for them. He will become an unrestricted free agent in March. It behooves him to have another good season at guard to maximize his value. He probably lost out in making All-Pro when he moved to tackle in 2003, although he did earn his third Pro Bowl ticket.

After thinking a little more yesterday about the possibility of playing tackle, Faneca said he likely would do it for one reason.

"You know what, when it comes time to do it, I'm out there playing for the guys who are out there with me. Whatever it takes to get the job done for them is ultimately probably what it would come down to."

The problem for the Steelers and every NFL team is that the 53-man roster is reduced to 45 for games, plus a third quarterback who can suit up and has restrictions about playing.

The more positions a player can play -- including special teams -- the more valuable he becomes. It nearly is a necessity that a tackle be able to play both sides or also play guard or that a guard also can play center.

That's why Starks, the starting right tackle the past two seasons, played extensively at left tackle Saturday night. He was there again yesterday in practice because Smith was out with a back problem.

The line may not look good now, particularly to the quarterbacks who have been sacked eight times in two games, but Faneca believes things are going as they normally do this time of year.

"You probably could almost say the same thing about this time in every camp. There's always guys working through things individually, and we're working through things as a unit. The injuries haven't necessarily helped, and we're moving guys around."

Zierlein would like to see the moves end soon, so the line could begin forming a bond.

"We need to get to that point here pretty quick ... I'm not going to put a timetable, but the quicker the better."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07226/809278-66.stm
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Old 08-14-2007, 09:27 AM   #2
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Default Re: Faneca debates versatility question

Quote:
After thinking a little more yesterday about the possibility of playing tackle, Faneca said he likely would do it for one reason.

"You know what, when it comes time to do it, I'm out there playing for the guys who are out there with me. Whatever it takes to get the job done for them is ultimately probably what it would come down to."
And ummm...oh I don't know........because you are getting paid to do it. I love how this guy makes it sound like he's playing for free this season and is doing the Rooney's a favor.
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Old 08-14-2007, 09:29 AM   #3
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Default Re: Faneca debates versatility question

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Originally Posted by 83-Steelers-43 View Post
Faneca debates versatility question
Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Zierlein would like to see the moves end soon, so the line could begin forming a bond.

"We need to get to that point here pretty quick ... I'm not going to put a timetable, but the quicker the better."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07226/809278-66.stm
i gotta think tomlin will take the advise of his position coach atleast after the washington game.

Quote:
After thinking a little more yesterday about the possibility of playing tackle, Faneca said he likely would do it for one reason.

"You know what, when it comes time to do it, I'm out there playing for the guys who are out there with me. Whatever it takes to get the job done for them is ultimately probably what it would come down to."
good to see faneca think before offering up this response. everybody knows hes pissed, but atleast hes staying true to form and acting like a professional about it on the field.
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