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Seahawks Grades: The George Fant experiment continues vs Bills

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This week he lacks consistency, but shows growth

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday Night Football, John Gruden highlighted George Fant (a lot) and how he’s an undrafted free agent who pretty much hasn’t played football at all since eighth grade, other than one year as a backup tight end. In his characteristically enthusiastic way, Gruden made sure everyone knew that he’s never seen anything like it in all the years he’s been around football. Welp, we already know why the Seattle Seahawks are starting Fant, and we’ve already taken a look at him the past two games.

But let’s take another look against the Buffalo Bills and their really good defensive line as Fant prepares to potentially make another start, this time against the New England Patriots. Again, here’s the grading scale.

Now on to the tape.

Now how about a closer inspection.

Play 2: Christine Michael right tackle for -2 yards

Here Fant does a good job of getting to the 2nd level and is in great position to get a block on the LB. However, the play call is for him to cut the LB, but since he’s in such good position he doesn’t have to. Fant struggles with cut blocks as you can see here, and just falls on his face.

Play 9: Michael right tackle for no gain

There’s no easy way around it. Fant just sucks at cut blocking. Here he should immediately go for the cut right off the snap. He comes off the ball way too high and then almost tries to roll into the block.

Play 13: Pass incomplete to Jermaine Kearse

First of all, look at the range and how far out Fant gets to meet the the rusher. He’s so smooth into his kick slide, however, the rest of his technique is poor. He tries to engage almost like he’s run blocking, and ends up leaning forward and the defender disengages too easily. He needs to bend at the waist and keep his long arms extended.

Play 17: Russell Wilson sacked for -10 yards

Even though Fant’s guy gets in on the sack, it’s not on him. On this play he shows growth as an offensive tackle in pass protection. As the rusher gets deeper, previously Fant fails to turn his hips and turn with the defender and he tries to bend the edge, and keep his hands on the inside of the rusher and push him deeper.

Here Fant isn’t the smoothest with his footwork and is a little slow, but does the job. Pressure up the middle on a stunt keeps Russell from being able to step up into the pocket.

Play 30: Pass short right to Doug Baldwin for 6 yards

Here Fant shows what he’s capable of. Kick slides out to meet the rusher, stays square on him and doesn’t get pushed back into the pocket.

Play 31: Wilson scramble for 8 yards

Two great plays in a row by Fant. Not getting beat deep around the edge and staying square so the rusher can’t counter with a good inside move. Last week he would have turned his hips and failed on the block, but he stays square.

GRADES

Again, Fant was inconsistent, but for the second week in a row showed growth. This week his Field Gulls Grade was 64% and his KiSS score was 74%. He was boom or bust on a sequence of plays in the first and second quarters, not stringing any good plays together until the end of the first half and parts of the second half.

Remember, George Fant is an undrafted free agent in his second start ever at left tackle and for the entire game, Fant beat the defender (.5-1) on 31 plays or 70% of the time. I think that is a success right now and something that Pete Carroll can live with.

Take Aways

  1. The biggest improvement I saw from Fant was on deep rushes. Previously he would either turn his hips upfield too soon, allowing the rusher to counter back inside easily, or he wouldn’t turn his ups at all and the rusher could turn the edge on him. As shown above, he’s shown significant progress on when he needs to turn up field with the defender or stay squared so they can’t go back inside. He’s getting the feel for the game. PROGRESS!
  2. On the other hand, his biggest weakness is cut blocking. He’s terrible at it, has terrible technique and seems just lost. This however, is something I know Tom Cable can fix.
  3. Not only did the offense hardly run the ball at all, they only ran it to Fant’s side once. I thought Bevell called a great game, but that is the one gripe I have about it. Every other run was designed to the right or up the middle. Honestly, right now I think Fant is a superior run blocker than Garry Gilliam, while Gilliam is better at cut blocking than Fant. I’m very surprised they didn’t try run left more. The one run to the left was a failed block by Brandon Williams, which brings me to the next topic....

BONUS

Jimmy Graham is not only our best tight end, but he’s also our best BLOCKING tight end. He’s now turned into a complete tight end and I have no reservations saying that at all. Just pure awesomeness.

Need to help out your UDFA rookie OT? Have Jimmy help out!

And again!

Left tackle Bradley Sowell has practiced in full this week, but can win he win back the job from Fant? We will find out. It might be worth it to team to stick with the guy who also isn’t great, but has much more upside.