1. Expect Fasano’s role to grow as the season moves along.
Last year’s opener at Atlanta was probably the low point in Fasano’s career. He caught two passes for 10 yards but fumbled both away, thwarting Miami drives both times. The mistakes loomed large in the Dolphins’ 19-7 loss.
This year, Fasano redeemed himself, catching three passes for 46 yards including a 21-yarder that not only was Miami’s longest play of the game but set up Ronnie Brown’s 1-yard run on the next play.
Brandon Marshall ran to Fasano and said something to him as he got up. Asked what Marshall said, Fasano replied, “He was giving me a hard time because I didn’t score. But I told him I played Ronnie in my fantasy league this week and wanted him to get the points.” (He was kidding.)
With Marshall, Davone Bess and Brian Hartline splitting three wide on some plays, opponents have little choice but to cover Fasano with a linebacker. When that happens, as it did on that play, expect Chad Henne to look for him down the middle of the field.
2. Is it good or bad that Michael Irvin is a role model for Brandon Marshall?
Marshall revealed Thursday that he and Irvin spoke after Sunday’s game and that he regards the Fort Lauderdale native and former Dallas Hall of Famer as a role model - at least for what he did on the field.
“Mike is a guy who played the game with a lot of passion, and has a lot of wisdom,” Marshall said. “He’s been through some things. Sometimes when you get advice from someone who’s been through things you take heed to it. I’ve enjoyed my time with Mike; he’s definitely a mentor of mine.”
Irvin remains close to a lot of NFL players - Pahokee and Ravens’ wideout Anquan Boldin is another - and there’s no disputing he was a great player. One can only hope those who heed him now can avoid the many mistakes he made during the latter part and after his career ended.
3. Jason Allen faces another huge test against Brett Favre and Minnesota.
Allen not only survived his rare start at cornerback last week, he thrived in the role, though the Dolphin defense had Trent Edwards on the run all game and when he did have time he wasn’t very accurate. The challenge this week is much more significant.
If Percy Harvin is healthy - and he missed practice Thursday with a hip ailment - Allen will have to face either Harvin or Bernard Berrian. Both are accomplished receivers who can turn any catch into a touchdown.
There’s no doubt defensive coordinator Mike Nolan will dial up a few more blitzes this week than he did last to keep pressure on Brett Favre. But the elusive Favre is so adept at stepping away from pressure and/or throwing on the run who’s going to find a way to hit his receivers. It will make a much bigger statement if Allen emerges from this one unscathed.