The Seahawks got their first regular-season look at their 2016 first-round draft pick on Sunday, as rookie offensive lineman Germain Ifedi made his NFL debut during Seattle’s 27-17 win over the Jets.
Ifedi, the Texas A&M product who played well enough through training camp and preseason to earn the starting job at right guard, suffered an ankle injury in practice days before the season-opener against the Miami Dolphins. The setback kept him out for Seattle’s first three games of the year, but he stayed mentally in tune with the Seahawks offense while going through his rehab, and the coaching staff felt comfortable enough to insert Ifedi back into the starting lineup against a New York defensive front that is among the more disruptive and talented groups in the League.
“It felt good,” Ifedi said of this past weekend’s win at MetLife Stadium that saw him play all 60 offensive snaps. "We got to do a lot of things during the week and I thought I was really well prepared for this game. I wouldn’t have played in this game if I didn’t think I was more than prepared to play these guys.
"That’s a good bunch of guys over there and I thought we gave them everything they could handle.”
Ifedi was part of a Seahawks offensive line that allowed a less-than-100 percent Russell Wilson ample time to stand tall in the pocket and complete 23-of-32 passes for 309 yards and three touchdowns.
"The offensive line is exciting to see,” said Wilson, who was playing with ankle and knee sprains suffered in past weeks. "They’re really talented. They move well, they’re strong. Germain Ifedi got in his first game and it was exciting to see him out there.”
Seattle head coach Pete Carroll came away particularly impressed with Ifedi’s work in pass protection.
“When he pass protects sometimes he drive-blocks and guys go flying out of the pocket and he pushes them one way or the other,” Carroll said Monday on 710 ESPN Seattle. "That’s a real presence and as we get to become accustomed to that it’s going to really help us.”
As with any player’s initial NFL action, there is plenty of room for improvement. Ifedi was flagged for a false start on one play against the Jets, which Carroll said he used as a teachable moment.
"I don’t know if you noticed during the game, but there was a time when he was trying to jump the cadence a little bit and he had got called for a false start,” Carroll said. "The official came over and said, ‘Look, I’m warning him. I’m telling him he’s getting close.’ I said, ‘Would you come with me and let’s go tell him over here?’ So I walked the umpire over there and we went and told Germain right on the bench during a timeout. So we’re just trying to make the point. From the snap to his ability to recognize what’s up, what the calls are all about, and his fits and his combination blocking, all that stuff. Everything’s going to improve.”
For the most part, though, Sunday’s win “felt good from the start” for Ifedi, especially when the offense ended the game in victory formation, “definitely one of our favorite plays,” Ifedi said.
“It felt like we picked up from where we left off,” he said. "There’s a couple plays in there, little communication issues, but for the most part I thought we executed our offense to a T and I thought we did some really, really good things today.”
Look through some action photos from Week 4 vs the New York Jets at MetLife Field.