News of Alan Faneca's retirement announcement Tuesday prompted at least three former Jets teammate to tweet testimonials. Clearly, this shows how much Faneca was respected in the Jets' locker room.
From C Nick Mangold: "Massive congrats to @afan66 for an amazing career. The #JETS oline is better because of his time with us. Enjoy the time with the family!"
From NT Sione Pouha: "@afan66 been a blessing to be around you big bro. Opportunity of 1 in a million to play with #66. God Bless."
From former RT Damien Woody: "S/O to @afan66, who retired as (one) of the best offensive linemen ever! I'll never forget that '09 OL w/ the #Jets, the best unit I've ever played with! #MuchLove."
Woody raises an interesting point: Where does the Jets' 09 line rank? As a run-blocking unit, it has to be considered one of the best over the past decade. The Jets rushed for 2,756 yards, pretty remarkable when you consider they did it with a rookie quarterback and a passing attack that scared no one.
That line consisted of, from left to right: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Faneca, Mangold, Brandon Moore and Woody. It was a terrific mix of young and old, high draft choices and one undrafted player (Moore), homegrown players and imports. They were smart, durable and, more than anything, prideful -- a special group.
Here's a top-5 ranking of the most prolific rushing offenses since 2000:
2006 Falcons .... 2,939 yards ... 9 TDs ... 5.5 avg.
2001 Steelers ... 2,774 yards ... 17 TDs .. 4.8 avg.
2009 Jets ......... 2,756 yards ... 21 TDs .. 4.5 avg.
2003 Ravens ..... 2,674 yards ... 18 TDs .. 4.8 avg.
2004 Falcons ..... 2,672 yards ... 20 TDs .. 5.1 avg.
Note: The '06 and '04 Falcons are an anomaly because they did it with Michael Vick at quarterback, with many of those yards coming on scrambles, not designed running plays. Vick rush for nearly 2,000 yards in those two seasons combined.