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Topic: particularly around the end zone
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particularly around the end zone
on: August 8, 2013, 05:02

Detroit Lions TE Tony Scheffler gets vote of confidence from Jim Schwartz

Maybe now the talk about tight end Tony Scheffler?s future can stop.Scheffler, entering his eighth NFL season, has been the subject of endless speculation about whether he?ll survive his fourth training camp with the Detroit Lions.He caught 42 passes in 15 games last year, the third-most of his career, but some wonder whether his salary ($1.95 million) and the arrival of undrafted free agent Joseph Fauria could signal the end of his time in Detroit.Asked about Scheffler?s role on the team at his training camp-preview news conference Thursday, Lions coach Jim Schwartz gave the Chelsea native and Western Michigan alumnus an unsurprising vote of confidence.?Tony?s an important part of our offense,? Schwartz said. ?He?s a matchup problem for defenses as a tight end. And he?s a playmaker, particularly around the end zone. I think that, when our offense runs at full effectiveness, Tony?s a big part of that.?Scheffler has carved out a nice role for the Lions San Diego Chargers jerseys as a slot-receiving threat in the red zone the last three years.He had six touchdowns in 2011, though just one last year.Along with Fauria, the Lions drafted blocking tight end Michael Williams in the seventh round and added Matt Veldman in free agency. Veldman played for new Lions tight ends coach Bobby Johnson in Jacksonville last year.Like starting tight end Brandon Pettigrew, Scheffler is entering the final year of his contract.Schwartz said any struggles the Lions and Scheffler had last year don?t fall solely on Scheffler?s shoulders.?I wouldn?t necessarily put the down year on Tony last year, but a lot of dynamics changed on offense last year,? he said. ?I like the way that he fits with Brandon Pettigrew. I like the way that he fits with other guys on offense, like Nate Burleson, Ryan Broyles, Reggie Bush, Mikel Leshoure, Joique Bell. No player stands alone, and no player is the reason that we succeed or fail. It?s a collective effort, and how we do as an offense is going to be based on how well we execute as a team, not an individual player.?Tony had a great off-season. I think he set himself up to have an outstanding training camp. And if he does that, then he can be in position to have a good season.?Contact Dave Birkett: Follow him on Twitter davebirkett.

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