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..George Fant quietly thriving in second season with Jets


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George Fant put together one of his best games of the season in Week 13, not allowing a sack or a pressure over 42 pass-blocking snaps in the Jets’ loss to the Eagles.

The performance was the latest example of the veteran offensive tackle flourishing since moving from the left side of the line to the right after Mekhi Becton dislocated his kneecap in Week 1. Sunday marked the 11th time in 12 games that Fant allowed two or fewer pressures, according to Jets X-Factor’s Michael Nania. He’s allowed just one sack this season over 502 pass-blocking snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. Fant ranks in the NFL’s top-25 in sack percentage allowed.While he isn’t known as an adept run-blocker, Fant has also been great at opening up lanes for the Jets’ running backs. New York’s 5.61 and 5.13 adjusted line yards from the left end and left tackle spots rank fourth and third in the league, respectively, according to Football Outsiders. Only the Dolphins, Browns and Buccaneers run better off the left end, while only the Lions and 49ers run better off the left tackle. That puts the Jets – and Fant – among some of the better run-blockers like San Francisco’s Trent Williams, Cleveland’s Jedrick Wills and Tampa Bay’s Donovan Smith.

Comparatively, the Jets have been excruciatingly bad running the ball from the middle and right side of the offensive line. New York ranks 30th, 29th and 22nd when running up the middle, over the right tackle or on the right end, respectively. The adjusted line yards averages from that side are almost two yards below the Jets’ numbers from the left side.

That’s a striking difference that highlights how much progress Fant has made this season.

Fant’s development couldn’t have come at a better time for himself. He’s in the second year of the three-year deal he signed with the Jets in 2020, but the team would only be on the hook for $1 million if it released Fant before the 2022 season. Otherwise, Fant comes with a $10.65 million cap hit next year. At one point, that looked like a steep price for Fant, but his play this season has transformed that figure into a bargain for a team in desperate need of protection for Zach Wilson.There is reason to wonder how Fant fits New York’s future offensive line when Becton returns, however. Fant looks like a better left tackle than right tackle, but the Jets probably won’t move Becton to the other side of the line. The offensive line has performed well as of late in its current makeup, but sliding Fact back to right tackle – this year or next – could disrupt his progress.

It’s hard to know what the Jets will do with Fant after this season given the roster makeup and salary cap considerations. Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh should keep Fant around next year to ensure some continuity on the offensive line, but they could just as easily release him to save money or trade him while his value is high. Either move would avoid positional conflict with Becton.At the very least, Fant is proving he’s a more than capable offensive lineman in this league after a few years of uncertainty at the position.

 - -   https://jetswire.usatoday.com/2021/12/08/new-york-jets-offensive-line-george-fant-mekhi-becton/

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8 minutes ago, Saul Goodman said:

Solid player, very nice pick up by JD. It would be amazing if we could move Becton to RT and he was able to thrive there. 

I'd be happy if he could survive there, first.

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49 minutes ago, HawkeyeJet said:

The thing is he was pretty good last year too.  He’s been a very good signing.  

Both of the current tackles deserve to keep playing.  If Becton comes back this year, I don’t know what will play out exactly.

Don’t know why this is so hard.  Fant is playing at a Pro Bowl level at a premium position , and we have him locked up for another year.  We’re seeing D’Brick level play and dependability.    It’s also conceivable at his age and lack of miles that he is a 5 year replacement.  
 

Becton is a world class road grading tackle - Hwy 77 - who sometimes struggles with pass protection.  With consistency and conditioning he could easily be tops in the NFL at RT in a scheme that emphasizes zone blocking and a strong run game.  Get or draft an all pro center, move Connor to RG and rotate / compete with LDT, and you have a completed rebuild in the trenches that would be one of the best in the NFL and completely in the right scheme for our talent.  
 

But we will probably f up this no-brainer because….  Jets.

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11 minutes ago, PavlovsDogs said:

Don’t know why this is so hard.  Fant is playing at a Pro Bowl level at a premium position , and we have him locked up for another year.  We’re seeing D’Brick level play and dependability.    It’s also conceivable at his age and lack of miles that he is a 5 year replacement. 

Becton is a world class road grading tackle - Hwy 77 - who sometimes struggles with pass protection.  With consistency and conditioning he could easily be tops in the NFL at RT in a scheme that emphasizes zone blocking and a strong run game.  Get or draft an all pro center, move Connor to RG and rotate / compete with LDT, and you have a completed rebuild in the trenches that would be one of the best in the NFL and completely in the right scheme for our talent.  
 

But we will probably f up this no-brainer because….  Jets.

Yes.  Brick level pass blocking WITH good run blocking to boot.  Trade Big Ticket.  Get him in a game or two.  Make him look good.  Put him on the trading block.  

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Why does the article even mention releasing him. He is playing at an elite level and $10M is a bargain. The questions for Fant should only be:

1. Do we extend him

2. Do we keep him at LT

I think the answers to both of those should be yes

 

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2 hours ago, UntouchableCrew said:

He's definitely one of Douglas' strongest unheralded signings nobody talks about.

Fant, Moses, McGovern were all very good FA signings by JD and LDT was a nice pick up for the mistake that was Van Rotten.  The OL honestly might be the best unit on the team.

 

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1 hour ago, JiFapono said:

Fant, Moses, McGovern were all very good FA signings by JD and LDT was a nice pick up for the mistake that was Van Rotten.  The OL honestly might be the best unit on the team.

 

You spelled his... wait, you didn't

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15 hours ago, JiFapono said:

Fant, Moses, McGovern were all very good FA signings by JD and LDT was a nice pick up for the mistake that was Van Rotten.  The OL honestly might be the best unit on the team.

 

It's certainly better that we first witnessed at the beginning of the year...

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I certainly believe this scheme better suits Fant, than Becton. If he could develop a bit better run blocking, it's a no brainer keeping him because his #1 priority is to not allow sacks which he seems to be doing just fine at.

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Fant was always a very athletic project who's natural position is LT.  At this point he has finally developed into a quality starting LT in the NFL.  He's now a high value developed talent playing at a high value position.   He's 29 years old.  We should probably use some of our cap to get him signed to a long term deal and make him a fixture at LT.  Becton can be moved to RT next off season.   Fant probably has 5 good years left in him as a quality starter at LT.   

 

 

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20 hours ago, Saul Goodman said:

Solid player,  *very nice pick up by JD*  . It would be amazing if we could move Becton to RT and he was able to thrive there. 

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**  JD is gonna "stay the course" **

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18 hours ago, JiFapono said:

Fant, Moses, McGovern were all very good FA signings by JD and LDT was a nice pick up for the mistake that was Van Rotten.  The OL honestly might be the best unit on the team.

 

I think GVR and Feeney (SP?) were meant to be depth. Curious what GVR would look like in limited action.

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By now, Jets offensive lineman George Fant has grown used to looking at life as an athlete from different vantage points -- even different sports.

In college at Western Kentucky, he first was a star of the Hilltoppers's basketball team. His size (6-5) and skill drew the attention of friends and coaches on the football team who finally prevailed upon him to take up a spot at tight end as a fifth-year senior. At the school's pro day, he was listed as an offensive lineman after weighing in at 296. He also worked out at linebacker, defensive end, defensive tackle and tight end.He caught the attention of the Seattle Seahawks, who signed him based on that one workout. Signed as an undrafted free agent in May 2016, Fant played left tackle and at times was the team's fifth offensive lineman -- an eligible receiver, a tackle/tight end hybrid. He even made his first NFL reception on a "Monday Night Football" game in 2019.

Throughout his Seahawks career, Fant was a "receiver," while also playing across multiple positions on the offensive line.Now, in the 2021 NFL season with the Jets, Fant thought he would compete with Morgan Moses at right tackle, but it was not to be. When second-year man Mekhi Becton went down early in the season with a knee injury, Fant seamlessly shifted to LT. And that's where he's been -- taking 100% of the snaps in all but two games -- playing next to the impressive rookie Alijah Vera-Tucker.

"This is the first year I've really gotten to settle in one position and play for an extensive amount of time," Fant told reporters on Wednesday after the Jets (3-9) returned to the practice field to prepare for Sunday's game against New Orleans (5-7) at MetLife Stadium. "It helps out kind of with muscle memory, being familiar with the position and trying to win every block."I've never been the kind of player who needs a fire under me. Competition, that's what this league is. The day you sign is the day they want to find your replacement. Seeing Morgan come here [after Moses was cut by Washington] was cool. This is my guy. We've been friends a long time. I didn't look at it like a slap in the face. It's just competition."In his 685 snaps so far this season through his 12 games, Fant, 29, has taken only 2 penalties (both for holding) and has allowed a single sack as he protects quarterbacks' blind sides.

"I'm settling in," Fant said. "You've got to remember this is my sixth year as a football player, understanding the game more and what works for me. The key for us is to just continue doing what we're doing. We have plays we really like and we'd like to continue to do those things and have the backs hit it."For the Saints game, those backs are unlikely to include the veteran Tevin Coleman, who sustained a concussion last week against the Eagles after running for 58 yards on 11 carriers. Rookie Michael Carter, the Jets' leading rusher this season, remains on IR with a sprained ankle. Austin Walter has been signed to the senior roster (it's his third elevation from the practice squad) and will be joined by Ty Johnson and second-year player La'Mical Perine. The Saints defense has allowed the fifth-fewest rushing yards in the league so far this season.

While the Jets had hoped that the combination of Becton and Alijah Vera-Tucker on the left side would be the start of a long-term relationship, Fant has done the job, and done it well. He said that he has been immensely impressed by the rookie LG from USC."He's a special player, and he's going to be one of the best guards in this league for a long time," Fant said. "He's so far ahead, knowing ball, setting angles and knowing where he needs to get on the field, and just understanding things. A special player."

In addition to witnessing the evolution and professional growth of AVT, Fant has a front-row seat as rookie QB Zach Wilson grows and gets more comfortable."You're definitely seeing his growth week by week since he got back [after missing four games with a knee injury]," Fant said. "It's cool that he got to sit back and watch Mike White, all our quarterbacks, all who played. And to see how they get the ball out and do certain things. Plus he got to go back and watch every game he played before. You see the growth and the player he's becoming.

"It's important for him to start games hot, get the ball out, make a couple of completions and work off that. It's huge for him."

 - -  https://www.newyorkjets.com/news/right-side-or-left-side-george-fant-adapts-and-thrives

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