Detroit Lions: Joseph Fauria Set to Bounce Back in 2015, Right?


Detroit Lions tight end Joseph Fauria has been in the NFL for just two seasons, but has already experienced some highs and some lows.

Fauria went undrafted out of UCLA in the 2013 NFL Draft, but was later picked up by the Lions as an undrafted free agent that offseason. As you might remember, he then went on to have quite the year for an UDFA, scoring seven touchdowns.

Pretty good impact for a guy who entered his rookie season just trying to make the final 53-man roster.

When the 2014 season opened up, it wasn’t the same as his rookie year. There were now expectations — and Detroit continued to add talent and competition to his position.

In round one of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Lions made the bold move of selecting Eric Ebron with the tenth overall pick. It’s proven to be quite the controversial pick since last year’s draft, in large part due to the high expectations associated with the tenth overall selection.

Also at SLR: The Detroit Lions and the Eric Ebron Narrative

Detroit also has Brandon Pettigrew on the roster, but there is little debating that his role with this team in his run blocking abilities.

Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Fauria and Ebron share some similarities in their style of play, although Fauria is a much taller redzone target. 6-foot-7 to be exact, a full three inches taller than Ebron.

What that essentially means is that despite the fact that there are three tight ends on the Detroit Lions roster, each of the three individuals possess their own niche that make them uniquely valuable to the team. The question is, can Fauria stay healthy enough to contribute to his role?

Early last season, Fauria one-upped former Detroit Lion Nate Burleson, who broke his arm when a pizza slid off the front seat of his GMC Yukon causing him to be involved in a single car crash on I-696. Burleson was place on season ending injury reserve following surgery to repair the two fractures in his arm.

While that seems a bit embarrassing, it’s nothing in comparison to the one that can be told of Fauria.

“It was a really good one. Really good one. Really good one.” – Fauria describing his injury

Via Joseph Fauria’s Instagram.

Fauria sprained his ankle (apparently hellaciously) while chasing his dog down some stairs at his apartment.

The reason?

To stop his puppy from peeing in the house.

Certainly understandable, but that was nine months ago.

Since then, Fauria has been very, very limited to say the least.

After hauling in seven touchdown passes during his breakthrough rookie season, Fauria’s sophomore campaign was finished after seven games, six catches and one score.

And six-and-a-half months later, he still hasn’t taken part in another team drill.

"“Extremely frustrating,” Fauria said, per “But it’s something you have to overcome. Football is frustrating, you know. Everyone has injuries. Everyone has trials and tribulations and it’s how you answer them and how you come back. I’m expecting myself to come back strong.”"

Fauria sat for almost all of Detroit’s 10 OTAs. He did nothing on the first day of minicamp.

May 27, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Joseph Fauria (80) during OTA at Detroit Lions Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

He did however run some uncontested routes during skeleton drills on Day 2 of minicamp, and hit the sled during individual drills.

"“Just to knock some of the rust off and show the guys that I’m not just here watching on the sideline,” Fauria said. “I’m still pushing through some injuries and still pushing through some pain, but at the same time just going to be out there with my guys and getting better.”"

The form and production of the 2013 season is something Detroit could truly use in 2015. Fauria’s height makes for a redzone mismatch against any cornerbacks or linebackers in the league, and throwing more touchdown passes is definitely something that head coach Jim Caldwell would like to do this season.

"“He has a unique skill set,” Caldwell said of his big tight end. “When you’re not able to utilize everything that’s available to you, you know, obviously you have to find other ways to do it.”"

“He brings to the table a little something that you can’t teach. He has height and he can position himself, particularly in the red zone, extremely well.” – Coach Caldwell

Something you may not know is that ankle injuries are nothing new to the former Bruin, and Fauria sorted through several medical options and approaches as to the best way to go about treating the injury this time around.

Ultimately, he chose not to have surgery — even though it may have sped up the recovery process.

"“Got a lot of opinions, and I thought the best decision for myself was to not get surgery,” Fauria said."

Certainly interesting.

Oh yeah, and there is also this:

If Fauria cannot find a way to stay healthy, I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see Detroit cut ties. Most tight ends around the league that are not top-tier guys are forced to contribute in multiple ways. That includes special teams, something that Fauria does not do.

The evidence that this move could eventually come continues to mount by the day. It’s something you’ll want to keep an eye on moving forward.

What do you think? Will Joseph Fauria stay healthy and on the Detroit Lions roster in 2015?

Next: 2015 Detroit Lions Roster Analysis: Tight Ends

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