With Mekhi Becton out for most of the night, George Fant came up big for the Jets as he put on an excellent performance in pass protection.
Through four weeks of action, only four right tackles in the NFL have allowed a pressure rate below 5.0% (minimum 90 protection snaps) while also committing zero penalties: Mitchell Schwartz (Chiefs), Jack Conklin (Browns), Kaleb McGary (Falcons), and George Fant.
Fant, Joe Douglas‘ surprising choice to fill the Jets’ gaping hole at right tackle, has been a solid starter so far. He is building off the progress he showed in late-2019, just as Douglas gambled that he would. Considering Fant was a shaky backup on a bad Seattle offensive line, most were skeptical of Douglas’ decision to invest in him with a three-year, $30 million deal featuring $13.7 million guaranteed, but Douglas and his staff clearly did their homework on Fant’s film and saw a player whose best days could be ahead of him.
Douglas has been proven right to this point.
Fant needs to maintain his solid start for much longer than just three starts to truly establish his improved level of play as the norm, but the early returns have been promising.
On Thursday night, Fant had his best performance of the young season, logging 54 protection snaps without allowing a single pressure. That stands as the highest total of protection snaps without an allowed pressure by a tackle in any game this year.
Let’s take a look at some of Fant’s best moments against Denver.
Fant has had some struggles with power moves and tends to do a better job handling speed/outside rushes, but he showed some progress against power in the Denver game. Here, Fant shows a strong anchor as he absorbs Malik Reed‘s long-arm/bull-rush from a wide alignment, giving Sam Darnold plenty of time and space to check the ball down to Frank Gore for six yards.
This next play is another good showing from Fant against power. Fant takes a 45-degree set against outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo. As soon as Fant sees Chickillo begin leaning into a bull-rush, he aggressively engages. Fant overpowers Chickillo and again shows a sturdy anchor. He grabs Chickillo’s shoulder pads to gain control, clinging tight to negate the rush.
Fant completely neutralizes young star Bradley Chubb on this play. Fant takes a 45-degree set and stays low in his stance, while Chubb quickly throws his inside arm. Chubb misses high, and from there, Fant takes control. Fant uses his outside hand to catch Chubb’s outside hand, taking away Chubb’s ability to do anything on that side. Fant uses his inside hand to chop down Chubb’s elbow on the inside arm, and when Chubb looks to throw another move with his inside hand, Fant catches it and swats it down. Chubb resorts to simply trying to sprint around the edge, leaving his body exposed, and Fant carries far up the field. A dominant rep by Fant against a top-tier rusher.