The Chicago Bears expressed the utmost trust when they re-signed Germain Ifedi to remain their starting right tackle. Offensive line coach Juan Castillo even said he felt the 27-year old was capable of making the Pro Bowl this year. People rolled their eyes. Not just because of his failures as a right tackle in Seattle, but also the hip injury he suffered during training camp. This was nothing but wishful thinking.
After the opener against the Los Angeles Rams? It might be time to start taking those comments a little more seriously. While the offensive line was far from perfect in the 34-14 loss, Ifedi was a major bright spot. Keep this in mind. Last season, Leonard Floyd abused the Bears for six pressures and two sacks. This time around the outside linebacker failed to record a single pressure in over 27 pass rush snaps against Ifedi.
It didn’t end there either.
Ifedi was just as effective in run blocking situations. For the game, the Bears ran behind the right side of their offensive line nine times for 79 yards. Even subtracting David Montgomery’s big 41-yard dash early in the game (which Ifedi was critical to springing), they still averaged 4.75 yards per carry running in that direction. Again keeping in mind that Floyd is one of the better run defending outside linebackers in the league.
For all the talk about the concerns regarding the offensive line, it looks like the Bears might have something going on the right side. James Daniels wasn’t terrible in his first-ever action at right guard and this game marked the seventh time in eight games that Ifedi did not surrender a sack since moving outside to right tackle. If those two stay healthy? They could make a formidable combination.
Germain Ifedi is playing for a long-term deal
This is something a lot of people keep overlooking. He signed a one-year contract to return in 2021. So the guy has a lot of motivation to do well this season. It would be great for the Bears if this ends up being the case. Fortifying the offensive line sits atop their to-do list moving forward what with Justin Fields preparing to take over. If both Ifedi and Daniels shine, then the team might have one entire side of their front locked up for years to come.
It would also be major validation for Germain Ifedi himself. A lot of people called him a bust after leaving Seattle, never having lived up to his 1st round status. The Bears took a chance on him in 2020, believing he had the makings of a really good guard. Things started out well, but injuries soon compelled coaches to shift him back outside. Rather than decline, he did what was best for the team. Now he is playing the best he ever has at that position.
It is a really cool story.
One that has a chance to deliver a great ending. Remember Ifedi just turned 27 in June. He could have several years of strong play ahead of him if he keeps improving. If either Teven Jenkins or Larry Borom end up becoming quality players out of the 2021 draft class? Then the Bears offensive line is suddenly settled for years to come. This is something to watch moving forward.