Many of us have been noticing how much Brandon Fusco has improved in his 2nd year as the starting right guard. Fearless Leader even made him one of his "Teammates of the Week" pick. But the folks over at Pro Football Focus are noticing as well. Every week they pick their "Secret Superstars", players that have been maintaining a high level of play but who may be a little under the radar. Here is what they had to say about Brandon Fusco:
A year ago we were struggling to understand why Brandon Fusco (+4.1) was seeing playing time over the veteran Geoff Schwartz in Minnesota, with a couple of impressive games failing to hide a season of struggles. The Vikings’ coaching staff has been rewarded in 2013 however, with that pattern flipping and Fusco having just two games where he’s played poorly, and eight where he’s finished with a positive grade. That’s all lead to him being our fifth-highest graded player at the position through 11 weeks, and realistically he’s within touching distance of all of those graded above him bar the incomparable Evan Mathis.
He was nearly perfect in pass protection on Sunday, with just the lone quarterback hurry surrendered, giving him a Pass Blocking Efficiency Rating of 98.1. While that was impressive, and it gave him his fifth game this year where he has surrendered just one pressure or fewer, he was even better as a run blocker. He may not have had any big blocks that jumped out, but lots of solid work, like his block on linebacker K.J. Wright on 1st-and-10 with 2:51 to go in the first quarter, added up to a good day all round.
The coaching staff have been given a LOT of criticism lately (including from yours truly), and they were much maligned over their choice to keep Fusco as the starter and let Geoff Schwartz walk in free agency. But it would appear that they made a pretty decent choice, at least this year. Here's to hoping Fusco can continue his ascent and progression and be a long-term fixture along our offensive line. It's great to see some outside sources recognizing some positive things from an otherwise train wreck season.