One of Jets guard Alan Faneca's many strengths is combo blocking. That's one of the reasons he has been chosen to be part of the inaugural USA Football/NFLPA "All-Fundamentals" Team.
The 26-man team comprises 11 offensive players, 11 defensive players and four special teamers, who have been recognized with these awards as the NFL's most fundamentally sound players.
"The thing about Alan is he's a consummate pro," said Damien Woody, Faneca's teammate and fellow offensive lineman. "He's been in this league a long time, he's been in different systems, but whatever system he's been in he's constantly excelled. That's all due to the basics. You can tell from college to his early years in the league he had a good foundation. His fundamentals were very solid."
The members of the All-Fundamentals Team are also described as players who commit themselves to service in their communities. The eight-time Pro Bowler does exemplary work in the New York and Pittsburgh communities, especially with the Epilepsy Foundation of America.
Faneca has played in 181 games in his 12-year career, including the last 124 consecutively. This year he's part of an O-line that has played 28 straight games together dating to Week 1 of last season and he's a big reason the Jets' punishing run attack is ranked No. 1 in the NFL after Week 14.
The Jets are in some danger of having that streak broken since Faneca did not participate in practice Wednesday and was limited Friday due to an unspecified illness, and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game at Tampa Bay. But head coach Rex Ryan said Thursday he expects No. 66 to be ready for the Bucs. Faneca was set to receive his award Thursday but was sent home sick before the small ceremony.
The LSU product was also recognized as part of the NFL's All-Decade Team as selected by Sports Illustrated's Peter King. The writer compiled a list of players who may not be the most statistically dominant players but who spanned the decade better than anyone else in their position. King described Faneca as "a smart guy" who "mauled defenders on first and second downs and punched and pulled from side to side in pass protection on third."
He's the only Jets' player leading the AFC Pro Bowl voting thus far at his position, with 11 days left for fans to vote online. The former Super Bowl XL champion while a member of the Steelers has brought his leadership and winning attitude to the Green & White.
"The award is warranted," said Woody. "He's a heck of a football player and the good thing about a guy like Alan is he shares his knowledge with the younger guys. That's what this game is all about. It's about helping to pave the way for the younger guys and keeping that tradition going. Alan is a professional."
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