Jets RT George Fant is entering Year 6 of his NFL career, but is as eager to get the pads on than when he was a rookie out of Western Kentucky. He's believes the outside-zone system the team will run will elevate his game.
"This system is really built for me," he said. "This is the most excited I've been going into a season so far. Being in Seattle for all those years, we kind of ran something similar. But seeing the 49ers and how they were running a wide zone when I was in Seattle, I already kind of had an idea of what they were going to do. Very excited to work with them, get in this system and really show what I'm capable of.
"This system is going to really highlight that for me. This year, honestly, is a jump year for me. That's what I'm manifesting, that's what I'm ready to show."
Fant (6-5, 320) started 14 games in 2020, his first with the Green & White after four seasons with the Seahawks. Last season was his first as a full-time starter after primarily serving as a swing tackle who was thrust into game action because of injuries, and was consistent for the Jets. He took 829 snaps, the second most on offense, and started in 14 games (12 at RT, 2 at LT) in addition to being named one of the team captains. This season, he's ready to fly.
"It definitely did a lot for my confidence," he said. "Coming in this year, starting all those games last year put me in a different mind frame. Before I even got here, I had seen a lot of ball, played a lot of ball, but being able to start a year to prove to myself that I can be a starter and play at the highest level possible. From there, it was a building block for me, so I can really raise and make the next jump."
Fant's focus has been on improving his hand placement this offseason because he feels his feet are usually in the right position due to his college-basketball background. He played four seasons at Western Kentucky and used his fifth year of eligibility to transition to TE for the Hilltoppers before signing with the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent. After a spring of non-contact practices, Fant plans to continue to work on his hand placement and is excited to show his progress when the pads come on in training camp.
"The offseason is all about reps," he said. "The best thing about it is that this offseason we had OTAs and were able to get those reps against different players, full-speed reps. Then once I get back home, I look at like basketball -- put up shots. Put up pass sets, get my hands on the bag, get my hands on the target consistently in the same spot. Sometimes your hands slip and you have to replace them and things like that, so just working a lot of different angles, different sets, different hand placements, having backup plans for my hands for counter moves and things like that."