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Seahawks Weigh O-Line Options Without George Fant
The Seahawks were back on the practice field Monday, and unfortunately they began preparation for their third preseason game minus left tackle George Fant, who sustained a season-ending knee injury in Friday’s win over the Minnesota Vikings.
“It’s too bad for George,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “He has had such a great year and a half for us, but he’ll be back. He’ll do a fantastic job of coming back, and he’ll make it back for next season and all that, but as of now, it gives us a challenge.”
The challenge, of course, is finding a new starting left tackle to replace Fant. One possibility is to use Luke Joeckel there—the former first-round pick spent most of his career at tackle before moving to left guard in 2016—but the Seahawks like what they have seen from Joeckel at guard thus far, and would prefer to keep him there. That being said, it is a nice option to fall back on knowing Joeckel is a viable option at left tackle if needed.
“Fortunately for us, Luke Joeckel is with us,” Carroll said. “Luke has been a starting left tackle in the NFL, he was drafted as that, and if that’s what winds up happening, that winds up happening, we know that. We like Luke playing at left guard and we’d like to keep it that way and see how we can do at left tackle—we’ll find out how it works—but we know we have a really good plan for that.”
Carroll wasn’t ready to give a lot of details on his team’s plans moving forward, but said one option is to go with Rees Odhiambo, a 2016 third-round pick who took over for Fant in Friday’s game.
“You’re going to wait and see,” Carroll said. “Right now, you saw what happened (Friday) Rees goes right in there and starts playing. So that’s the first thing that happens, then you’ll see what happens after that.”
Asked to assess Odhiambo’s play in relief of Fant, Carroll said, “He did well at times. The running game was good, the passing game he had some good stuff and some stuff he’d like to fix. He’s capable of doing it all, he’s a very good athlete at the position. We drafted him highly with the thought he would be able to do this. I have never backed off the thought that physically he could do it all. Now he’s just got to make sure he can settle in and execute and function really well with the guys. He’s got Luke sitting next to him, which will really help him. He’s physically really good, it’s just a matter of experience right now. He has been a left tackle most of his career, so it’s not a transition for him at all, it’s just a matter of stepping up and just being right. To do that—I’ve already talked to him about it—he’s got to settle down, just settle down and confidently go about his work, and let the plays come to him. I think he’s going to have a chance to be really good. We drafted him to be a starting player, and we drafted him with the thought he could be a left tackle. So here we go, we’ll see what happens.”
Odhiambo, who has played both left guard and left tackle in camp, knows he now has “a big opportunity,” with the starting job open, and says, “I’m ready to go take it.”
A left tackle at Boise State, Odhiambo said he is comfortable at either guard or tackle if the Seahawks want him to play either spot.
“I’m just out here trying to play wherever they put me,” he said. “Wherever I go is where I do my best.”
Another possibility at left tackle could be rookie Ethan Pocic, a second-round pick who has shown a lot of versatility in his first camp with the Seahawks.
“Could be,” Carroll said of Pocic being an option at left tackle. “He has played left tackle in his past—he has done everything. He has already played a little bit of everything for us. That’s a possibility. He has only played a short time there on the left side, he has been primarily a right side guy, but when you’re a center, you have to be somewhat ambidextrous, so you that’s a possibility also.”
The Seahawks added another name to the mix Monday, acquiring Matt Tobin in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. That trade occurred after Carroll had met with the media, so he didn’t weigh in on where Tobin might fit in, but the former Eagle has experience at guard and tackle, so there are a few different ways he could fit in.
And overall, Carroll feels good about what he has seen from his line thus far, even if Friday’s game did create a setback.
“We’re moving,” Carroll said. “We’ve got to keep going and keep rolling, and I’m really pleased with what we’ve done with our O-line. From last year to this year, you can see the difference. We’re happy about the progress we’re making, and there’s a lot more to be made.”
On the other side of the line, Mark Glowinski and Oday Aboushi continue to battle at right guard, and Carroll said there are no plans in the works as of now to move Glowinski back to the left side, where he started last year, something that would seem to only confirm the team’s desire to keep Joeckel at guard. Germain Ifedi, meanwhile, is “doing well” in his first year at right tackle after playing guard during his rookie season.
“He’s doing well,” Carroll said. “I don’t think we have a problem with thinking about him playing right tackle now. He’s got a lot of stuff he’s working on, a lot of little things he’s working on technically. But he looks very much the part, he comes off the ball really well in the run game, and his sets are pretty nice in the passing game, but we’re looking for consistency. Really, for him to grow with the different styles of guys he has to play against, we keep throwing different guys at him in practice to make sure he has to adjust and sees what he’s up against and all of that, and it seems like he’s doing a good job so far.”Read