Heaps: Seahawks should move away from ‘jumbo package’ in 2020
The last two seasons, one of the more common phrases you’d hear while watching the Seahawks was “No. 74 has reported as eligible.”
No. 74 was, of course, offensive tackle George Fant, who the team employed as a sixth offensive lineman/extra tight end for both running and passing plays. This personnel group was often referred to as Seattle’s “jumbo package” due to the amount of large bodies on the field.
But now, Fant is no longer on the Seahawks as he signed a three-year deal with the New York Jets, presumably to start at left tackle.
Seattle did sign two tackles in free agency, Brandon Shell and Cedric Ogbuehi. Shell is expected to start at right tackle in place of Germain Ifedi, who signed with the Chicago Bears in free agency. Ogbuehi, meanwhile, could wind up filling that extra blocker role that Fant filled in 2018 and 2019. But should that happen?
Jake Heaps of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom, Jake and Stacy thinks the “jumbo package” should be a thing of the past, and not just because Fant is gone.
“Everybody loved George Fant playing tight end and they loved that ‘jumbo package,'” he said. “In 2018, they implemented that package and it was actually really effective. It was a big, heavy package where they could move bodies and they were nasty in that personnel.”
While that group was effective in 2018, Heaps says that wasn’t the case in 2019 as teams made offseason adjustments to counter that type of personnel.
“This year, the Seahawks continued to play high percentage of their jumbo package with George Fant and I think a lot of people would say that it was it a vital part of their run game,” Heaps said. “Well, when they used six offensive linemen this year on 171 attempts, their positive play according to EPA – expected points per average – was just 36.4% of the time.”
Was the lack of positive play in that personnel indicative of the run game struggling as a whole? Not really.
“The interesting thing is that they were much better off running it just out of straight 11 personnel (three receivers, one tight end, one running back) or 12 personnel (two receivers, two tight ends, one running back) with actual tight ends in the game rather than their jumbo package,” Heaps said. “So to me what that shows me is that you continued to just sit there and say ‘all right we’re gonna put George Fant in the game we’re going to pounded on these guys just like we did it the previous year’ and teams adjusted to that in a heavy way and yet you didn’t do any adjustment yourself.”
Last season, tight end wasn’t really a strength of the team, as Will Dissly got hurt in Week 6 and that left Jacob Hollister, who was a great receiving option but s a bit undersized for a tight end, and Luke Willson to fill the position. This year, those three are all back, and the team also signed veteran Greg Olsen and drafted Colby Parkinson and Stephen Sullivan in April.
Heaps thinks Seattle should use those guys to block rather than putting Ogbuehi on the field just because the team had some success with Fant.
“I think moving forward you have to lean in more to your actual tight ends – Will Dissly Greg Olsen – and group instead of trying to make Cedric Ohbuehi, who they signed to be that jumbo package tight end,” he said.
Listen to the second hour of Thursday’s Tom, Jake and Stacy at this link or in the player below.