Senior Tight End Robert Lane is a confident athlete.
He has always considered himself a playmaker, so it comes as no surprise he wishes he could have been utilized differently last season.
"I just want to do what I can for the team to win. We have playmakers on this team and I feel I am one of them. I want to be one of those guys who we go to in the games, get a few big plays out of me, win and move to the next one," he said. "With the combination of all our playmakers, we have a chance to be real good. I want to be part of that equation."
On the flip side, he understands why he was not used more in the passing game in 2006.
"We had protection problems last year, so the coaches opted - rightly - to keep the tight end to help with protection. I understand that," he continued, "but this year I think the coaches have more confidence in the protection and the protection packages from the offensive line and they are putting me and all the tight ends into routes more.
"When we face a third-and-long and are expecting blitz, you either have to protect with five and a back or keep the tight end in too. Hopefully this year our run game will be better and we won't face as many third-and-long situations. Our run game was good last year, but it will be better this year."
What makes Robert believe the run game will be better?
"We have more plays and more schemes this year. Last year, we ran mostly power O and everyone knew that and Ben still gained 1,000 yards. This year we have different schemes to go with the power game that we will use more," he explained. "That and having more backs to keep everyone fresh will be a big benefit to the run game.
"I think being able to be more multiple in our run game is going to produce more yards and less third-and-long situations."
As a former quarterback, what is Robert seeing from the QBs this fall camp?
"I think they have improved quite a bit. They are working hard. Seth (Adams) is doing his best to get better every day and I can see it happening. Michael and Brent are working hard too, all of them are," he explained. "Right now, it looks like everyone is looking to Seth and there's pressure on him, but he's taking it all in stride and is making strides. The same can be said for the other QBs - they are just going about their business trying to get better and that's all you can ask of any player.
"We, the team, have confidence in our quarterbacks and we will back them 100%."
Adams said he's conscious of Lane and the other tight ends when they are running routes.
"A lot of times, defenses leave tight ends more open. I'm aware of that and I definitely take a hard look at them in my read progressions," he said. "Robert is a great target because he finds the gaps in defenses, he's active and he's sure-handed and reliable. You know if you throw it to him he's going to catch it."
Lane is excited about the team's opportunities and his opportunities in 2007.
"I'm not going to lie - I like getting the ball, but my first priority is to help the team win. I think we are going to do that, and I think I'm going to be called on more to make plays. It's the best of both worlds for me," he closed.
Robert Lane update -
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