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Seahawks Grades: George Fant’s first start

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Did he earn the spot of the 2nd starting rookie offensive lineman?

Seattle Seahawks v New Orleans Saints Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Let’s get right to business on this one because it’s perhaps the most pressing question for the Seattle Seahawks offense today: How did George Fant do in his first start?

Well, what we do know is that last week was his debut. He had his ups and downs but did show some promise. What we saw from his performance against the Arizona Cardinals is that he looks to be the part of a menacing run blocker, and has the tools to develop into a solid pass blocker. He has the size and strength in the run game to generate push and open up holes. In the passing game, he has the coordination and athleticism to mirror a rusher with a good kick slide and good footwork, but is lacking on his use of his hands and his bend at the waist.

A quick grading reminder

On to the tape!

A total of 55 plays, way more than 25 he had last week. Let’s take a closer look.

Play 14: Michael right tackle for two yards

First watch Germaine Ifedi and Will Tukuafu lead the way for Christine Michael. After seeing that great blocking, take a look on the backside, and enjoy George Fant blasting the linebacker and keeping him out of the play.

Play 17: Pass short middle to Kearse - INTERCEPTION

In pass blocking, the worst thing he’s been doing is not using his hands well and not having enough bend. It’s not completely fixed here but it’s a great sign of improvement and something to build on...and it’s something that Bradley Sowell does very well.

After engaging, the DE is able to disengage, however, Fant is able to keep is right hand on the inside should of the DE and is able to run him deeper past the pocket. This is a trick to use when beat around the edge and use the rushers momentum against him. Not pretty, but a noticeable improvement.

Play 19: Pass incomplete to Baldwin

Here there’s good communication between Britt and the rest of the line picking up the blitz. Fant has the outside blitzer thats just off the screen. Good job in communication which could be something that can easily be missed with a UDFA rookie in his first start in his first year playing left tackle.

Play 40: Michael left guard for four yards

Paul Kruger isn’t as fast as he used to be, but he’s still pretty stout. Here Fant gets a good block, and again, keeps driving his feet to generate push in the run game.

Play 49: Wilson scramble for 5 yards

Here again, Fant has a good kick slide and is in position, but poor hand use and not enough bend to be able to counter the defensive end. He still forces the rusher deeper, so it’s not just a bee line to the QB.

Play 53: Pass short middle to Baldwin for 27 yards

Same issue again. He’s in position, engages, but the rusher disengages too easily. However, here he shows again, get his hand on the inside shoulder of the rusher to use his momentum to push him past the pocket. Here, Fant stopped his feet, so he struggles to push the defender deeper but does just enough to make it work.

GRADES

Fant was inconsistent, but showed promise. For his Field Gulls grade, he earned a 63%, and his KiSS score was 74%. What helped him a lot was the quick throws and Russell did a good job getting the ball out fast, and it definitely helped Fant with his pass blocking. So I don’t think its all encompassing of his play, but is a pretty decent representation and honestly, not bad for Fant’s lack of experience.

Take Aways:

  1. George Fant continues to look great run blocking. Definitely his strength.
  2. He continues to show growth in pass blocking. Great kick slide and gets into position. Still needs to work more with his hands and form, but as we saw above, he’s making progress.
  3. With how well Fant has been run blocking, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him starting another week and the coaches letting Sowell rest one more week. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back on the bench if Sowell can play. One thing that would surprise me, is if Sowell comes back, and Fant replaces Gilliam at right tackle. Gilliam has been pretty underwhelming in both the run and pass game and I could see it as an option. We’ll have to take a closer look at Gilliam next week.

NOTE:

Again, we thought the Hawks went away from the run game. However, it’s not what it may seem for the second week in a row. The first four plays, had three runs. They clearly wanted to run the ball from the get go, but for the second week in a row, penalties threw that plan out the window. To start the second half, they ran the ball 7 or 8 times straight and had the defense on their heels, then starting passing again. I think they should have kept running it.

So to recap, the first half, penalties derailed the run game. The second half started strong, but then they fell behind and needed to pass. Not as terrible as we thought, as everything was thinking Bevell just wanted Russell Wilson to sling the ball all over the field, because that doesn’t seem to be the case at all when you take a closer look.