For an offensive tackle to have success against an elite pass rusher, he needs to "know your guy pretty good, you don't go into the game facing a stranger," Seahawks right tackle Germain Ifedi explained.
How well does Ifedi want to know his opponent?
"You know how he walks, how he smells, how he moves, you know everything about him," Ifedi said. "You've got to study your opponents, and you've got to know them a little better than they know themselves by Sunday."
When the Seahawks play at Cleveland on Sunday, Ifedi should know quite a bit about a player he'll be blocking at times in the game, though that knowledge doesn't mean it'll be easy by any means. Myles Garrett, one of the league's top pass rushers and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft, was teammates with Ifedi for two seasons at Texas A&M, which meant they went against each other in practice quite frequently back in College Station.
"He's a heck of an athlete, a hell of a player," Ifedi said. "He needs to be dealt with. We (at A&M) were super excited he was the No. 1 overall pick, because we knew he had that type of talent and ability. He has really made his mark in the league, and it's exciting to see him do well."
After a pause, Ifedi added, "Just not this weekend."
Ifedi added that in practice he and Garrett, "had some battles. You like to face guys like him, guys that are special and have a special type of talent and ability. It's always a dope challenge to kind of see where you're at and see how far your work has come."
A year ago, Garrett would have been the problem for Seattle's left tackle, Duane Brown, to deal with, but the Browns have been moving Garrett around this season, and he has done plenty of damage working against right tackles, including a sack in last week's loss to the 49ers. Through five games this season, Garrett has seven sacks, and that's after recording 13.5 sacks last year on the way to Pro-Bowl and second-team All-Pro honors.
"He's about as much (of a challenge) as you can get," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "He's a terrific athlete. He's got great speed and burst and flexibility to bend and get off the ball and then get around the corner. He's off to a great start. He has seven sacks and he could have had 10 at this point. Maybe more. He's real legit."
While it won't fall entirely on Ifedi or any one player to deal with Garrett, the Seahawks will be confident in the former first-round pick when he does line up across from his old teammate.
"He's playing good, solid football," Carroll said of Ifedi. "This is the best he's played. He's played the most consistent football, clearly. He's doing a good job. He's played tough and he's been really steady and all that. There are always things that we're working on with all of our guys. He's got his things. He's doing a good job."
Carroll said the improvement and consistency has shown up "in pass sets in particular. More consistent in general, but his pass sets have been an issue for us over time that we're trying to get him to settle into a couple technical things that we work on that have been a little hard for him to adjust and change to over time. He's the best he has been. He's getting better."
While Sunday's game will feature a familiar matchup for Ifedi, the goal overall is to just continue to build on what has been a solid start to his year, whether that's going against Garrett or anyone else in Cleveland's talented front-seven.
"Just building, trying to build every year, trying to get better," he said. "I don't want to sound cliché, but it's just getting better every year. That's imperative, or I'm failing my team and my teammates… You just keep taking steps and keep building. That's all it is, just getting better. That's always the goal as a professional. If you start back-tracking, that's when you've got to look in the mirror a little bit. But if you keep developing and getting better, that's always imperative, that's the goal every day."
The Seahawks and the Browns will meet this Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium for the sixth game of the 2019 season. Take a look back at photos from past games between the two teams.