Germain Ifedi doesn’t get much respect for what he accomplished last season. Here is a guy who was supposed to start exclusively at right guard. Then midway through the season, due to injuries, he’s asked to shift outside to right tackle. So he ends up splitting 16 games between two positions. Yet despite that, he gave up just 2.5 sacks and committed four penalties.
One could make a fair argument he was the best blocker on the Bears’ line last season. If not that then certainly the most reliable. This is why the team brought him back on another one-year deal, providing a nice pay raise in the process. Even so, a lot of people aren’t overly thrilled about him being one of the starting tackles come September. A thought process that confuses offensive line coach Juan Castillo.
He remains one of the biggest believers in Ifedi.
So much in fact that he made a rather bold statement when speaking to the media. One where he made it clear he wouldn’t be at all surprised if the 26-year old ends up the Pro Bowl this year. It wasn’t a joke at all. He was serious. Sure enough, Ifedi himself was made aware of the comments during his first meeting with the media. He didn’t seem at all surprised. If anything, he calmly agreed with them.
“I don’t think he’s wrong. He knows me pretty well. He knows how I work. He knows my football IQ, what I put into this game, what I’ve done in my five years in the NFL.
There are a lot of facts that go into that, but as far as being a consistent player and one of the better linemen in the league, I think that’s the expectation. That’s my expectation. Coach [Matt] Nagy, that’s Ryan [Pace’s] expectation. That’s coach Castillo’s expectation. And I try to live up to that every day because they took a chance on me. They believed in me, and I’m going to give them everything I’ve got.”
It is hard to believe Ifedi is still so young despite having been in the league since 2016. It is clear Castillo’s influence on him was apparent last season. No doubt a big part of why he elected to stay in Chicago. As those teachings and the added work continue to pile up, the results should only improve. Ifedi always had talent. It was just a matter of doing everything required to maximize it.
— Erik Lambert (@ErikLambert1) September 17, 2020
New thing I love — on David Montgomery's epic 80-yard TD run, Allen Robinson (🔽 of screen) "blocks" his WR by running a route and pulling his CB out of the lane.
From there, Alex Bars and Germain Ifedi seal the inside lane to leave Montgomery 1v1 with the safety. Beautiful. pic.twitter.com/wBAyiZ0nZX
— Robert Schmitz (@robertkschmitz) December 16, 2020
Germain Ifedi certainly isn’t getting the red carpet treatment
Just a month after bringing him back on his new deal, the Bears add more competition in via the draft. Teven Jenkins was selected in the 2nd round. Larry Borom in the 5th. Both were almost exclusively right tackles in college. If that weren’t enough, it appears the team is also interested in former Washington Football Team veteran Morgan Moses. Most of his career has been spent on the right side as well.
This is a clear indication that while the Bears are comfortable starting Germain Ifedi, they don’t view him as the long-term answer. As if the one-year deal didn’t indicate as much already. If he wants to get a serious investment from the organization, he’ll have to earn. Both by winning the starting job in training camp and playing even better than he did last season.
A challenge he seems more than up for.
For their part, the Bears are in a good spot. If Ifedi fulfills those expectations? Great. The right side should be locked down. If it doesn’t, they’ll have options in place to replace him next year. A win-win situation. Here is hoping it works out for him. He certainly has put in the time and effort. One should be rewarded for such things.