RENTON, Wash. (AP) Rookie Germain Ifedi was admittedly a little off when he finally made his regular-season debut on the Seattle Seahawks offensive line three weeks later than originally planned.
It wasn't the speed of the game or the scheme of the opponent. It was simply being back on the field for a full game for the first time as a pro.
''I wouldn't say conditioning but just playing a full game on this level, I hadn't done that yet. Whether Week 1 or Week 4, I was going to have to knock off that rust of being able to play a whole NFL football game,'' Ifedi said Wednesday.
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Ifedi's return at right guard during Seattle's Week 4 victory over the New York Jets finally put the Seahawks offensive line fully in place.
Ifedi missed the first three weeks of the regular season after suffering a sprained ankle in practice just days before the season opener against Miami. The injury led to significant changes on the offensive line with J'Marcus Webb – having not played guard all training camp – stepping into Ifedi's spot for the first three weeks.
But the job was Ifedi's from the start and the Seahawks hope his return in Week 4 is just the start of improved play along the entire offensive line.
''There's a lot of room for improvement there for Germain. He's just one game old in the regular season and he's been off for quite a while, too. He was rusty and he was behind a little bit, he was just a little bit shoddy with some stuff, it just had to happen that way,'' coach Pete Carroll said. ''He should improve a tremendous amount, and I think as he improves, he'll affect what's going on with Garry (Gilliam) and what's going on with (Justin) Britt. We should see improvement in a number of areas. We're really fired up about him, we think he's going to be a dominant player. He's got to have it, he's got a growth cycle that he's got to go through to get caught up.''
Where the Seahawks are hoping Ifedi can provide a boost is in the run game. While the pass protection has been solid for quarterback Russell Wilson the past two weeks, the Seahawks have struggled to get the run game going to their standards for most of the season.
Seattle has just one 100-yard rushing game – Christine Michael's 106 yards in Week 3 vs. San Francisco – and go into this week ranked 18th in the NFL in rushing offense, averaging 93 yards per game. The Seahawks have finished in the top four in the NFL in rushing each of the past four seasons and while that still may happen, it's the aspect of Seattle's offense that has yet to click.
''We know as an offense we need to get our run game going. … As an offensive line we really put the run game on our shoulders and we want it to be better,'' Ifedi said. ''We're going to keep building, keep working on it and get it right.''
NOTES: DE Frank Clark (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday. … WR Tyler Lockett (knee) is feeling better following the week off and is expected to have a bigger role in Seattle's offense after being limited the past two weeks. Lockett suffered a knee sprain in the Week 2 loss at Los Angeles. ''I made a point of hanging with him today, and we'll see how he gets through the week, of course. He feels the best he's felt and he's kind of ready to get out there and get running around and get going. He was frustrated the last couple weeks that he couldn't contribute more,'' Carroll said.
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