The Seattle Seahawks only suffered one injury during Thursday’s preseason victory over the Denver Broncos, an ankle injury to tackle/tight end George Fant that coach Pete Carroll called “legit”.
Fant plays an instrumental role in Seattle’s offense, often serving as a second tight end/sixth offensive lineman on running downs. His goal is primarily to give Seattle extra push up front, although he did run a few routes last season, and even caught a pass for a nine-yard gain.
His absence, which could spill into the regular season, likely puts an end to the tackle as a tight end experiment in Seattle.
Or so one would think.
“No, we have a couple back-ups that [we] use,” offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer commented on Tuesday. “You’ll see Jamarco [Jones] in there some, Elijah [Nkansah] is in there some, it’s just part of who we are, so there’s always guys at that rep that. [Mike] Solari and [Pat] McPherson do a great job kind of sharing time and get those guys up to speed. But, it’s part of who we are and so we we’ve always got those guys getting reps.”
Fant had experience catching the ball coming out of college, something that neither Jones or Nkansah have. That makes it much less likely that they would be utilized in passing situations.
However, it does prove that Schottenheimer and the Seahawks are committed to the run and that they want to get added push up front – even if they can’t use Fant in that role.
Nkansah is a long-shot to make the roster, but Jones has impressed in camp so far this season, and is primed to be one of Seattle’s backup tackles – and now potentially a starter up front if Fant remains out.
“He has gotten a ton of reps, a ton of work,” Schottenheimer continued. “He’s really a very instinctive player, he’s a great technician. If you watch him, he’s probably one of our best hands players in terms of pass protection of getting his hands on guys and stopping an inside move and things like that. You see him growing tremendously, still trying to work on some strength at the point of attack things like that. But he’s working his butt off. He’s probably getting more reps than maybe any lineman out here.”
Look for Jones to potentially serve as an eligible receiver in Seattle’s upcoming preseason game on Sunday, Aug. 18. at 5:00 p.m. PT against the Vikings in Minnesota.