This week Field Gulls is getting bombarded by grades, with one for each starting player on the offensive line. Each evaluation isn’t going to be quite as in-depth as previous reviews due to the amount of time it takes to evaluate each player, but it should be enough to give everyone a idea of how each player performed. Here in part one we grade each player and see how they compare to one another. In part two we’re going to look at a several specific plays and highlight a few things.
Starting this week we are only going to utilize the Field Gulls Grading (FGG) system and no longer use the Keep it Simple Stupid (KiSS) score. Again, the grade is based on the eye test, with assumptions in regards to the play call and player assignments. Here’s a grading breakdown reminder.
Without further adieu, let’s see how the offensive line.
LT George Fant
Fant had a Field Gulls Grade of 68%, which is a pretty good performance and meets the eye test. Take a look at his score summary, he over overwhelmingly did his job and continues to show growth. He’s consistently getting better every week.
First thing, again, is he still struggles with cut blocking. He needs to cut immediately after the snap, he gets out of his stance too high and takes too long, but it’s still something that is easily fixed, hopefully he’ll have it down by the time playoffs come around.
What’s that? Playoffs? We’re talking about playoffs? Are you kidding me? Playoffs? Yes! I am talking about playoffs, and I’m talking about George Fant as the starting left tackle in the playoffs! And even him being the long term answer at left tackle. I honestly don’t think Bradley Sowell gets his job back, notwithstanding anything catastrophic by Fant. Fant has already shown to be an upgrade in run blocking, has some more work to do in pass blocking, but I honestly don’t think the drop off is not that much in pass blocking. Now that Russell Wilson is healthy, his mobility can compensate for Fant’s growing pains.
Fant has already shown tremendous growth in four games, and he’s no longer letting anyone run free and completely whiffing on his blocks. Not only do I think he’s going to remain the starter for the rest of the year, but he’s now the franchise left tackle of the future. His development is huge that its coming so early, which will free up Schneider to be more flexible in the draft. I honestly don’t think they’ll look for a left tackle, I think they will look for a right tackle to replace Gilliam, or another left tackle that can move inside to guard and compete with Glowinski.
UPDATE: GEORGE FANT NAMED STARTER AT LEFT TACKLE FOR REMAINDER OF YEAR BY TOM CABLE ON WEDNESDAY. BRADLEY SOWELL WILL COMPETE AT RIGHT TACKLE. GARRY GILLIAM WILL HAVE TO FIGHT TO KEEP HIS JOB.
LG Mark Glowinski
Mark Glowinski had a Field Gulls Grade of 74%. He had a total of 14 plays where he did the job convincingly, which is outstanding. However he did have more lapses and missed blocks, which are all things that can be corrected. Remember this is his first year starting.
He had a very solid game, but his score was also helped out with a lot of double teams, as were all three of the interior lineman. Watching live I thought he was inconsistent, but after watching the All-22 he showed the opposite. He still has some issues, and at times reminds me of JR Sweezy when he whiffs. He isn’t spectacular, but he’s definitely solid. He benefits from having Britt next to him, since he’s still developing that chemistry with Fant.
C Justin Britt
Justin Britt had a Field Gulls Grade of 76% as he continues to impress at center. He also had 14 top grades as Glowinski, and coincidentally had the same number of fails.
Pete Carroll said that this was Justin Britt’s best game yet at center. And honestly from this performance, I could see him making the Pro Bowl if he was this consistent every week. He’s easily Seattle’s best offensive lineman right now and the clear leader. I’d get laughed out of town if I said that last year. He’s making great calls and adjustments at the line and making sure everyone gets it. What I love most, is that he’s able to use his athleticism more at center, pulling, picking up blitzes and stunts.
This is his first year at center. Look out over the next several years as he grows and gets more comfortable at the position and develops more chemistry with the rest of the guys on the line. Wait, what? Next several years? But isn’t Britt a free agent after the 2017 season? Yes, but I’m telling you he’s not going to be allowed to become a free agent. He’s going to get a decent contract extension this coming off season. For 2017 John Schneider has roughly $24M in cap space. That is more than enough to sign Britt to a four-year extension at roughly $6M average per year which would put him at about the 11th-highest paid center and I think that’s just about right.
RG Germain Ifedi
Germain Ifedi had a Field Gulls Grade of 76%. He grades out the same as Britt, but he was more dominant in his wins. Tremendous consistency from Ifedi which is great to see from the rookie.
Go back and look at Ifedi’s two point stance. He reminds me of a sumo wrestler, and probably has the strength of one. What I came away from this game the most from Ifedi, is his strength to hold his blocks. When he locks on to a defender, he LOCKS on, and they aren’t shaking free. It’s awesome to see him sustain blocks for so long. Now he still has some issues technique wise, and gets outside his frame a bit too much causing him to miss some blocks, but he’s still learning as well since he came from a spread offense.
RT Garry Gilliam
Last and also least, Garry Gilliam had a Field Gulls Grade of 60%. He graded eight points below the next guy, which was Fant at 68%. They eye test matches the data, and Gilliam had the most fails, and the least amount of convincing wins and just doing his job. There’s a reason why he’s in jeopardy of losing his job to Bradley Sowell.
Gilliam has probably been the most inconsistent player on the line so far this year, and was inconsistent again against the Patriots. He had several plays that just wowed me, and then he also had several plays (like on the very first play) where I thought he put in a very poor effort. Overall I thought he had a decent game, but there are still things that he needs to fix.
To be honest, I was very high on Gilliam. So far after everything we’ve seen this year, I still have hopes for him, but I don’t think his ceiling is as high as we originally thought. I think he’ll probably end up being a league-average starter, which is still amazing for an undrafted free agent that used to play tight end, and is still a major win for Pete Carroll and John Schneider. I’m just not so sure he sticks around after next year, unless he starts to turn things around the second half of the season much like he did last year.
If he were to step up and was able to take the left tackle spot next year, I’d be ecstatic, but I doubt it would happen. Why I’d like to see that is he’s more suitable to the left side, as he’s not a great run blocker, which the right tackle usually is. I’d love to see Fant lining up next to Ifedi. As I think that’d be a dynamic duo to run behind.
This line is coming together much like they did last year. Fant’s trial by fire is going much better than expected; Glowinski is pretty much what we thought he would be (decent); Britt continues to impress at center; Ifedi is showing why he was a first round draft pick; Gilliam is at least serviceable with upside. Right now Fant is who we wanted Gilliam to be.
Sunday will be a good test for them against the Philadelphia Eagles front-seven, but I think they’re going to do enough to help the offense stay hot and keep cruising for the rest of the year. Biggest thing is to not shoot themselves in the foot with penalties. If they do that, and keep Russell Wilson upright, the offense will score points.
Check out Part II on Saturday