It looks like Chicago Bears offensive lineman Germain Ifedi won the starting right guard spot. Now, he might be a key to the line’s success in 2020.
Heading into the offseason, the Chicago Bears‘ offensive line was probably one of the top two concerns. Its performance last season was not up to par after having a very good year in 2018 with two linemen going to the Pro Bowl.
Despite the troubles, general manager Ryan Pace didn’t make wholesale changes. He made a couple of additions, signing former Green Bay Packers tackle Jason Spriggs and former Seattle Seahawks first-round pick tackle/guard Germain Ifedi.
Spriggs likely backs up Bobby Massie at right tackle when the season begins. He could be in play for a starting spot next season, but that’s a story for another time. Ifedi, though, will be a big part of the line this season.
Right guard Kyle Long, the offensive line’s leader on and off the field, retired in the offseason. He left big shoes to fill. The players on the line leaned on him. His loss was a big blow to them.
The Bears had Ifedi and Rashaad Coward battle it out for Long’s position. Coward stepped in as the starter when Long went down for the season. However, he was a converted defensive lineman and the team didn’t expect him to thrust him into a starting job so quickly. He learned on the fly but struggled as a result of inexperience. He used last year’s experience to help him this season.
Ifedi played right guard as a rookie. The Seahawks moved him over to tackle, but that experiment didn’t work out. Now he’s in Chicago, back at right guard.
With Ifedi as the starter, the line should be strong
The Bears hoped that having Ifedi return to guard would bring back his success and confidence. So far in camp, it looks as if they thought correctly. He took control of the battle from the beginning, impressing the coaches in the process. The battle was over before it started.
Now that Ifedi looks like he won the starting job, the job is now to make sure Ifedi has some cohesiveness with the other starters. Once he blends in with the others, this could wind up being a very strong line. Center Cody Whitehair and left guard James Daniels will be at their positions all season long so there won’t be any horrible switch to worry about. Massie is healthy now and wants to return to his 2018 form when he allowed just one quarterback pressure.
Left tackle Charles Leno had a Pro Bowl season in 2018 but went on a penalty spree in 2019. If he corrects his technique correctly he could play well again.
If these players mesh well together the line’s improvement from last season will be tremendous. We’ll see an improvement in the running game and whoever wins the starting quarterback spot will have time to find open receivers.
Ifedi’s presence on the line helps bring in some aggressiveness. It’s something offensive line coach Juan Castillo noted recently. He noted that Seattle is an aggressive team so he likes having one of their aggressive players in Chicago. Whitehair is the new leader of the line but he leads by example. The big dog on the field will be Ifedi. If he can do that, we’ll like what we see from the Chicago Bears offensive line in 2020.