The Seattle Seahawks got creative after losing tight end Will Dissly to season-ending knee surgery, opting to use backup tackle George Fant as a second tight end for 12 snaps in Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
While this isn’t the first time Seattle has used a lineman in this role, it is a rather unique set up, although one that favors Seattle’s triumphant return to a run-heavy offensive scheme.
“I think George is extremely athletic,” quarterback Russell Wilson commented on Wednesday. “He’s a great competitor, he’s a great athlete, he can see things. I thought he did a tremendous job against a very, very good defense last week.”
Fant’s 12 snaps as an eligible tight end resulted in eight running plays and four passing plays. Although Fant was never asked to run a route, his presence on those 12 plays was clearly felt.
The Seahawks rushed eight times for 39 yards, although one of those plays was lost to a holding penalty on Nick Vannett. They completed two passes on four attempts for a total of 42 yards – including the 39-yard touchdown throw to Tyler Lockett on a play-action pass.
With Ed Dickson set to return in Week 8 against the Lions, and with the Seahawks having a bye in Week 7, Sunday’s game against the Raiders in London may be the second, and final, opportunity to see Fant in this role.
Seattle will no doubt use the veteran Dickson as their primary run-blocking tight end, and his experience as a pass-catcher will keep him on the field plenty for the last half of the season.
Still, Fant’s experience in this role is helping the Seahawks in the meantime and will help Fant in the long-term.
“He has so much versatility, he can play left tackle, he can play right tackle, he can play tight end and do a lot of great things there,” Wilson continued. “They say in the NFL the more you can do the longer you’ll stay. He’s one of those guys that can do it all. It’s exciting to have a guy like that. Tremendous athlete who loves the game.”
Don’t be surprised to see Fant as an eligible receiver a handful of times when Seattle takes on the Raiders at Wembley Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 10:00 a.m. PT.