Michael Johnson. Antwan Odom. Robert Geathers. Tank Johnson. Domata Peko. What about defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene? Thanks to the play of Geno Atkins and Johnson, among others, Fanene does what Fanene usually does. No matter how much he produces, he's typically the forgotten one.
He ranked second on the team with six quarterback sacks last season and finished with 49 tackles, ranked second amongst the team's defensive lineman. He intercepted a pass that came off a Michael Johnson deflection that went 45 yards for a touchdown against Detroit and when the team jumps to nickel situations, he slides inside as a defensive tackle. One of his two sacks against the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 15, came on a third-and-goal in the second quarter, forcing Pittsburgh to kick a field goal. In the same game, his big paws forced a pass deflection in the fourth quarter that also forced the Steelers to kick a field goal. Johnathan Joseph's interception against the Raiders was in part because Fanene hit quarterback Bruce Gradkowski while throwing the football. And when the lights shined on the Bengals during the team's Wild Card loss against the Jets, Fanene recorded nine tackles.
For as much as he does, Fanene is the forgotten one.
And against the Cowboys, Fanene recorded a quarterback sack and a forced fumble on Jon Kitna late in the first quarter.
Mike Zimmer praises Fanene:
“I like Jonathan a lot,” Zimmer said. “He works extremely hard and is very prideful. I’ll ask him all kinds of questions in meetings because he never wants to be wrong. Jonathan is the kind of guy you like to have on your defense. He can do a lot of different things that people don’t realize. Jonathan goes hard on every play.”