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If Seahawks lose Brown, Dissly, does it sink the season?

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Hey, maybe not!

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers
headier, happier times
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

“Are the Seahawks without hope if they’re without Will Dissly?”

The answer’s “no,” right? Because “Russell Wilson,” right?

Sure.

If the Seattle Seahawks can win on the road against a decent team win playmakers on both sides of the ball, without two important (crucial!) starters, then they can win any game between now and season’s end. If Wilson remains in the MVP race and the defense hounds receivers? They’re a playoff team.

But it’s not immediately obvious that they’re a Super Bowl contender without a strong second receiving option who also happens to be their red zone wizard, and without the most important position on the O-line filled.

Unless, unless, unless. Unless Pete Carroll’s wornest of worn phrases, “Next Man Up,” actually means something. In this case it might. But only because the replacements are serendipitously right-place, right-time options.

If Duane Brown can’t return...

George Fant, of course, has been groomed for the LT job before. It might seem like ages ago, because at the time, Tom Cable was the offensive line coach, Darrell Bevell was directing the offense, and Kris Richard was learning the ropes at DC. (Back in 2016-2017, many people still thought RW was mortal, and those who didn’t were instead convinced he was a robot. Now we know better!)

Still, no matter who you are, replacing your left tackle is gonna suck. The starter’s the starter for a reason. In the Seahawks’ case, the reason is that Brown’s made an All-Pro team before. But if you’re designing the ultimate emergency-yet-realistic Plan B, it would involve slotting in someone who has:

a) played the position

b) been in the Carroll “program” for a while

c) something to prove to the world and a paycheck to play for

d) a ceiling you haven’t quite located yet.

You’d be substantially pleased to find a guy who checks three boxes, and outright ecstatic to find one who checks all four — like Fant does.

Fant’s on board with the Seahawks’ philosophy of running the ball with a little extra somethin-somethin for the defense along the way.

He’s also accumulated plenty of playing time in his three and a half years with Seattle, at both tackle positions and as an extra offensive lineman, despite missing all of 2017. He was in line to take over at LT, in fact, until a preseason ACL injury erased his entire year.

Fant’s made 13 starts and appeared on offense in 19 others. That’s two full-ish seasons of work during which he’s logged 1,198 snaps. He’s played real football, and enough of it.

He’s also in the last year of his deal at a time when capable, even mediocre offensive tackles are getting paid. If he starts and stays healthy he’s in line for a big payday; professionals don’t necessarily need extra motivation, but an extra nudge cannot hurt.

There are drawbacks to the Fant option, but nothing the Seahawks and their quarterback aren’t accustomed to.

Listen to a new episode of Seaside Reactions after every Seahawks game!

We Missly Dissly

Ordinarily, the most productive tight end in the league would be missed. Take Travis Kelce off the Chiefs and that offense doesn’t look so imposing anymore, does it? Well, comparing Dissly to Kelce isn’t fan-site hyperbole. In terms of raw production, here are their last eight full games, side by side:

Mystery TE 1A: 37 catches on 58 targets, 613 yards, 10.6 yds/tgt, 1 TD

Mystery TE 1B: 30 catches on 39 targets, 413 yards, 10.6 yds/tgt, 6 TD

Since you are familiar with Dissly’s short career, you know he’s 1B. He’s been Seattle’s version of Kelce, only with more end zone appearances and a reduced target rate, because Seahawks.

Again, the ideal solution for Seattle would be to acquire a tight end who has:

a) explosiveness rather than blocking skill, but some of the latter. You are replacing a touchdown-maker, after all.

b) existing chemistry with the quarterback or experience in the system. It is practically midseason already (!!!) and there’s not a lot of time to get up to speed.

c) a cheap contract so you don’t blow cap space or draft picks to fix the issue.

Luke Willson, he of the Thursdays dedicated to educating his teammates about the value of good techno, volunteers to save the day/month/year by hitting all three checklist items.

Willson’s not known for his blocking ability, but we’ve seen him score from literally any place on the field. Couple well-known examples? Don’t mind if I do.

Furthermore, there’s nobody out there who could possibly hold a candle (a safe distance from his beautiful locks please) to Willson in terms of fitting in with Wilson. 2L’s has seen 1L tap dance in the backfield and uncork an impossible completion countless times. He knows the scramble drill. There’s no learning curve.

Besides, if Ed Dickson returns shortly from the PUP, as scheduled, the reinforcements will round out the TE room to the point that Dissly’s disappearance can be covered by committee if necessary.

So while Uncle Will picks up rehab tricks from C.J. Prosise, and Brown heals either quickly or slowly, whichever outcome his 34 years will allow, the Seahawks can maybe weather two significant losses. And perhaps they can continue to roll through a suddenly special season without succumbing to a couple painful what-ifs.