TE Joseph Fauria ready for increased role in offense

Posted Oct 10, 2013

With tight end Tony Scheffler dealing with a concussion, the Lions will lean on rookie tight end Joseph Fauria to have a bigger role in the offense Sunday in Cleveland

Joseph Fauria says the key for him moving forward is to transition from being a player who’s a red zone threat to a player who’s a threat to make a play anywhere on the field.

The 6-foot-7-rookie tight end has been a good red zone player for the Lions this year. He’s caught two touchdown passes and has been a big target down there for quarterback Matthew Stafford.

But with Tony Scheffler dealing with a concussion, and his status for Sunday’s game in Cleveland in doubt, the Lions could be in a situation where they’ll need a lot more from Fauria in all parts of the field.

Fauria said part of his maturation has been learning the X and Y receiver positions and more of the offense in general so offensive coordinator Scott Linehan has confidence to use him in different roles.

"Now, I should be ready for all the other 80 yards," Fauria said Thursday. "Scoring touchdowns doesn’t hurt me, but when it comes to where the majority of plays are, and that’s those other 80 yards, I want to prove (I can make plays)."

He played just nine snaps last week in Green Bay and 13 the week before vs. Chicago, but Linehan says Fauria will have an increased role moving forward.

"He is going to play more than he has to this point," Linehan said. "He is on track to do great things for us too. He is a young player but he has certainly played really good football for us and will play more snaps for us as we move forward."

With the Lions still uncertain about All Pro receiver Calvin Johnson’s status for Sunday with that knee injury, and receiver Nate Burleson already ruled out, the Lions nee to start getting more contributions from role players like Fauria.

"I think Joe, since the time he’s been here, has impressed us and made plays when given the opportunity," head coach Jim Schwartz said. "He’s young. Like a lot of young players, there are some inconsistencies that he is working on to improve on. He certainly has talent to be able to make plays. We have seen that in red zone a few times."

Fauria says the key thing is showing he can be trusted.

"Tight end is one of the hardest position out there," he said. "You have to know receivers, you have to know where the running back goes, you have know how the o-line is blocking. It’s a tough position to learn and I took it week-by-week.

"I understand my role as a rookie and a role player. I’m taking it in stride and learning and trying to get out there. I’ll be ready and I’m excited for the chance to showcase."