The battle for Kyle Long’s old position doesn’t seem to be a real battle. With about two weeks of camp remaining, it appears the job is Germain Ifedi’s to lose.
There are a few starting position battles going on at Chicago Bears training camp. Those battles will decide who starts at cornerback, strong safety, quarterback, and right guard.
The right guard battle is one to see who replaces fan favorite Kyle Long, who retired this offseason. He left some big shoes to fill and, considering how the offensive line struggled last season, having a good replacement for the leader of the line is important. Whoever wins might not be the leader Long was but if he plays well he helps in the improvement of the line.
Despite Long’s retirement, the Bears didn’t make many moves to find his replacement. He already had Rashaad Coward, a converted defensive lineman. They signed former Seattle Seahawks’ first-round pick (31st overall) in the 2016 draft, Germain Ifedi.
Coward started at Long’s replacement but it was apparent that he was still too raw. He has that experience from last season under his belt now, but is it enough to help him win the battle?
It appears that it isn’t. With about two weeks remaining before setting the roster, it looks like the starting job is Ifedi’s to lose. He’s impressing offensive line coach Juan Castillo so far. Castillo says Ifedi’s experience in his four years helps him.
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I think that the thing about Germain is that you know he’s played four years, he started at guard his first year and then he’s started at tackle so he has a lot of game time experience and that’s very important.
Head coach Matt Nagy also sees the advantage Ifedi has.
We just see that as a competition where you’ve got a guy with a lot of experience in Germain Ifedi versus a guy with not as much experience [in Rashaad Coward]…
Yes, Ifedi has a lot of experience but for three years he struggled at right tackle. He showed that he isn’t athletic enough to protect the edge but is powerful enough to handle the guard position. He had success in his rookie season at guard and the hope is that he renews that success returning there.
Another thing that Castillo likes in Ifedi is that the team he came from, the Seattle Seahawks, is a physical team and that Ifedi was one of the more physical players on the line. That is something the Chicago Bears offensive line lacks. They got manhandled too many times last season. They need to attack defenders and blow open holes for the running backs. Ifedi is the man who helps do that.