Ifedi must cut down on mistakes to stay in Seahawks lineup
RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Germain Ifedi was back with the first unit in training camp Monday, two days after Seattle coach Pete Carroll yanked the starting right tackle from the lineup during the Seahawks‘ scrimmage.
The embattled offensive lineman is hoping to keep his starting spot, but didn’t help his cause in Saturday’s scrimmage when he was flagged for a false start and a holding penalty. Carroll had seen enough.
“Yeah, I was real disappointed in that,” Carroll said. “Real disappointed.”
Penalties plagued Ifedi last season when he was flagged 20 times, the most penalties for any player in the NFL. New offensive line coach Mike Solari had a long conversation with Ifedi on the sidelines after he was pulled from the scrimmage.
“We want Germain to be disciplined,” Solari said Monday. “It was unacceptable. Just unacceptable and he knows it. We want to give him immediate feedback. It’s just concentration.”
Ifedi was a first-round draft choice out of Texas A&M in 2016, but has yet to live up to the lofty expectations. The offensive line overall struggled most of the 2017 season, but Ifedi received most of the ire from the fans for his inconsistent play.
Ifedi knows his must eliminate the same mistakes that resurfaced Saturday.
“It was a learning experience,” Ifedi said. “We know that pre-snap penalties are unacceptable. It’s a lesson. You take the good things you did and move on.”
Ifedi said Solari told him he has to stay calm in every situation and that composure will be key.
“Coach saw something on the field and he thought it was a good time to take me out and let me cool off. I was fine with it,” Ifedi said.
Ifedi was replaced by Isaiah Battle in the scrimmage. Battle is a fourth-year player from Clemson who was acquired in a trade with Kansas City last season. The Seahawks could also opt to move George Fant to right tackle. Fant missed all last season after suffering a major knee injury in the preseason and is backing up Duane Brown at left tackle.
Solari said last week that the best five players will start on the offensive line. He told Ifedi what he expects of him if Ifedi hopes to remain the starter.
“Germain’s a good football. He’s working on his technique. For a coach, it’s never quick enough, but we are demanding that he do it right,” Solari said.
Solari is expected to use more man-on-man blocking and less of the zone-blocking concept that predecessor Tom Cable employed. The Seahawks want to return to being more of the power-running team they were with Marshawn Lynch.
The Seahawks signed veteran guard D.J. Fluker to improve their run blocking. The other expected starters are Brown, second-year player Ethan Pocic at left guard and Justin Britt at center. Seattle also signed veteran guard J.R. Sweezy last week. Sweezy began his career with the Seahawks in 2012 and started on the Super Bowls teams in the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
The unit’s first test will come Thursday night when Seattle opens the preseason against Indianapolis. And there will be plenty of attention on Ifedi.
“It’s a big week for me with a new coach,” Ifedi said. “Mike is a great coach and you can tell he really cares about us. There’s pressure every year to get better and step up your game. You have to constantly evolve.”