Germain Ifedi is the most polarizing player on the Seattle Seahawks roster. The team’s first-round pick back in 2016 has had an up-and-down start to his career, and he remains a topic of passionate discourse among fans.
But anyone out there hoping the Seahawks might make a change at right tackle shouldn’t hold their breath. Pete Carroll gave Ifedi a huge vote of confidence on Wednesday.
“He’s playing good solid football. This is the best he’s played, clearly,” Carroll said. “He’s doing a good job. He’s played tough and steady and all that. There’s always things we’re working on. He’s got his things, and he’s doing a good job.”
Carroll pointed to Ifedi’s improved consistency, particularly in his pass sets. However Ifedi’s Pro Football Focus grades contradict those claims. Ifedi’s 50.1 overall grade ranks 50th among NFL tackles who have played at least 250 snaps in 2019. His pass blocking grade of 43.3 ranks 54th by the same standards.
According to PFF, Ifedi has given up three sacks in five games, tied for sixth-most. His 22 hurries and 25 pressures allowed are the most among his peers. Ifedi has also been penalized five times.
It’s important to note that you shouldn’t take PFF grades as gospel. It’s impossible to grade offensive linemen with certainty without knowing blocking schemes and play-to-play assignments. That said, it’s a useful tool to confirm what you feel like you’re seeing with your own eyes.
Both the eye test and PFF suggest that Ifedi has been a point of weakness within Seattle’s offense, even Carroll or Ifedi himself don’t see it the same way.
“It’s been good,” Ifedi said of his season thus far. “I went against some damn good players and made them look pretty normal. It’s been a good ride. We’re 4-1. We wish we were 5-0. We’re just looking at the next opponent – getting better and learning off of every game.”
Next up for the Seahawks is a road matchup against the 2-3 Cleveland Browns. For Ifedi, it’s an opportunity to face his former Texas A&M teammate Myles Garrett. Ifedi told reporters he practiced against Garrett quite a bit during the pass rusher's freshman year.
The first-overall pick in 2017 already has seven sacks this season. Carroll, who called Garrett 'real legit,' said that sack number could easily be in the double digits if not for a few near-misses. He'll be another huge test for Ifedi and the rest of Seattle's offensive line.
“He’s a hell of an athlete and a hell of a player,” Ifedi said. “We had some battles. It’s real fun that it came full circle this way.”
Ifedi is in the final year of his rookie contract and is set to become a free agent next offseason as Seattle declined his fifth-year option. There’s always a chance that the Seahawks re-sign Ifedi before the new league year begins in mid-March.
But as it stands right now, it seems like Ifedi still has a long way to go if he’s going to be a mainstay in Seattle beyond 2019.