Jeff Faine, 28, enters his second season as the team starting center, but feels that the new zone blocking scheme being implemented by new offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski and new offensive line coach Pete Mangurian is a much better fit for the personnel that has been assembled over the past several seasons along the offensive line.
With the team wanting to become a much more physically dominating running team Faine thinks that he and his line mates are better suited to play in space.
“I think it’s right up a lot of our guys’ alleys,” Faine said of the zone blocking scheme. “We have a pretty athletic offensive line. I think our skills fit this a little better than some of the things we were doing in the past. It gets us out in space and things like that. I think we should take advantage of this while we have it.”
“I don’t want to say we lacked it before, but the one thing we had all the way across the board was a bite,” Faine said of his fellow offensive linemen. “There was a bite in all of us. I’ve been on quite a few offensive lines where there are 2-3 guys that like to get after it, and then there are a few guys that just do what is necessary to get through to get the job done. With our offensive line, it’s not just about getting the job done. It’s taking it to that next level. We want to get the whole defense out of their game because all they are thinking about is what we’re doing to them. That’s something I appreciate about this offensive line tremendously.
“Looking back on it I feel like we didn’t finish the way we wanted to as a group. There were spots where we did show what we could do, but we didn’t do it every week. The Bears game was a great example of that. We threw the ball over 60 times in that game and didn’t allow a sack. But then we went to Denver and played terribly. You have to do it week-in and week-out and finish the season like we should have. I think we made some tremendous progress from where we were, but we need to be consistent. That’s something we need to focus on this year.”
It would seem that even Faine is getting in on the act, when it comes to giving praise to second year QB Josh Johnson, as he thinks there will be stiff competition between the three quarterbacks that are currently on the roster.
“I think those guys are fully capable,” Faine said of Tampa Bay’s quarterbacks. “I’m impressed with Josh’s growth from when he first got here. When he first got here he was hesitant to say the snap count, and now he’s taking good control of the offense. From what I’ve seen so far he’s definitely grown a little bit and definitely has matured.
“Luke is steady. He’s showing some confidence right now that I haven’t seen out of him since I’ve been back here in Tampa and especially when I was with him in Cleveland. We still have Griese, too. He is capable of moving this team as well. I’m excited. It’s going to be a good competition.”
It seems strange, that another player would heap such praise on a second year quarterback who was nothing more then a scout team player, unless there have been major strides, which from everything that has been said about Johnson in the last 48 hours, it sure does seem like the team is either trying to talk themselves out of drafting a quarterback or have a very elaborate plan to try and work the old hype machine to bump up the potential value of Johnson which is utterly ridiculously sounding even for the most far out of fans to suggest.