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Friday, April 30, 2010
Faneca eager to lend leadership

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Alan Faneca's interview with XTRA910 radio in Phoenix, transcribed in part by sportsradiointerviews.com, produced confirmation of how the Cardinals' newest lineman found out about his release from the Jets.

Faneca was having dinner with Jets teammate Nick Mangold when coach Rex Ryan called. It was a "hard phone call" for both men, Faneca said. Looking forward, though, the nine-time Pro Bowl guard says he's eager to get started with the Cardinals. Having Faneca fall into their laps stands as a welcome development for the Cardinals.
Faneca on leadership: "I think guys, especially younger guys, feel better around guys like myself who've been in the league awhile. They love to bounce questions off you, which is great. How else is a young guy going to do it if he doesn’t have someone there to help him and teach him? I was very fortunate, when I came into the NFL, there was nothing but veterans on the offensive line. I’m sitting there going into year one, and I think six or seven of the other guys are on eight years and above. It was the best thing that ever could have been for me, man."

The Cardinals already have a few veteran linemen. Some of the younger ones -- Levi Brown, Brandon Keith and Herman Johnson come to mind -- could presumably benefit from Faneca's perspective. I would think Faneca's addition at left guard could help Brown's transition from right to left tackle (to be fair, though, former starting left guard Reggie Wells did play through an injury that might have limited his productivity last season).

I don't see Faneca's addition reflecting poorly on Wells or any other linemen on the Cardinals. This was simply a rare opportunity for Arizona to add an accomplished player with very strong ties to the coaching staff from their days together in Pittsburgh, a player the Cardinals wanted to sign when Ken Whisenhunt took over as head coach in 2007.

Note: Faneca audio here.