Did George Fant show that he should start at left tackle for Seahawks?
It wasn’t always pretty, but George Fant made a few believers during his first start since Pee Wee football in the Seahawks’ loss to New Orleans on Sunday. Still, head coach Pete Carroll said Monday that the undrafted rookie’s hold on the starting left tackle position remains uncertain.
With starter Bradley Sowell sitting out due to a knee injury, Fant, started at tackle even though the former Western Kentucky basketball player entered training camp having never played offensive line in his life. He finished with two penalties (false start and clipping) during the team’s first two possessions, but generally held his own in both the run and passing games and was not responsible for the Saints’ lone sack.
During the “Pete Carroll Show” on Monday, Carroll referred to the “first-quarter miscues” as “first-time situations that he fell prey to.” And while Carroll was impressed overall, he’s not ready to name him the full-time starter just yet.
“He played really well and he looked really good and he was really physical and looked the part and that’s a remarkable thing that he’s doing,” Carroll said. “To play that far ahead of his experience is pretty good.”
Sowell suffered a sprained MCL on Oct. 24 against the Cardinals, an injury that was expected to keep him out of the lineup for multiple weeks. He felt well enough that Carroll had left open the possibility last week that the fifth-year pro could play on Sunday, though. Carroll previously mentioned rookie third-round pick Rees Odhiambo and veteran J’Marcus Webb as more experienced options to protect QB Russell Wilson’s blindside.
When asked if Fant did enough to continue as the starter, Carroll responded: “We’ll see how that goes. We don’t know. Let us get through this week and see what the options are and all that, but he did very good for his first time playing and he showed why we’ve been talking about him so much. He’s very, very well equipped physically and got a good brain about it, got a good competitive mindset. There’s just so much to learn; he’s trying to take it all in.”
While Carroll continues to consider his options, Brock Huard has seen enough, saying the Seahawks should tap Fant as starter even if Sowell is healthy.
“George Fant starts. There is immensely more upside,” Huard said. “If they stick to their game at all of playing to people’s upside, there is no doubt that physically he showed you what he is capable of. He strikes you, that’s what I loved the most. The best part of his game was the run game and his opportunity to just physically strike an opponent and move them. Sowell can’t do that; he physically can’t do that. Even when Fant gets pushed a little bit in pass protection, he’ s got the lower half to kind of absorb some of that, and athletically he’s got the feet to at least try to get in the way. Bradley just has to duck and hold and a holding penalty here and a holding penalty there. You didn’t see that on Fant.”
Huard attributed Fant’s false-start penalty to being antsy and the other violation to being overaggressive.
“He did enough, he showed himself well enough that he should be the starting left tackle,” Huard said. “Plenty to clean up? Absolutely. Is he going to get miles better? Is he going to look back, hopefully, one day at the first start and say, ‘Jeesh, technically, fundamentally a lot of work?’ Yes. But the mindset, the aggressiveness is exactly what (offensive-line coach Tom) Cable is looking for.”