Bears Announce Competition for Returning Starter: He’s ‘Going to Get Pissed’

Germain Ifedi Bears

Getty Offensive lineman Germain Ifedi of the Chicago Bears.

Germain Ifedi is going to have to earn his starting spot this coming season. The offensive lineman signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears this spring, and while the coaching staff seems to hold him in high regard, the six-year vet is going to be competing with a rookie at right tackle.

Ifedi started all 16 games for the Bears last season, playing 10 at right guard before moving over to tackle on the same side to finish the season. Chicago saw its o-line decimated by injuries last season, causing several players to shuffle around, but after the team drafted Teven Jenkins in the 2nd round and Larry Borom in the 5th, offensive line coach Juan Castillo revealed Jenkins will be the likely starter at left tackle, while Borom will challenge Ifedi for the starting spot on the right.

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Borom ‘Is a Better Athlete’ Than Ifedi, Castillo Says

When discussing his rookie offensive linemen, Castillo was incredibly excited about both, and when speaking about Borom, he noted how impressed he was by the young man’s commitment to weight loss this offseason. Borom lost 30 pounds since the 2020 season ended, and he noted after the draft he felt like a totally different player.

“I know Germain’s going to get mad at me, but (Borom) is a better athlete than Germain,” Castillo said on May 12, via The Athletic. “G’s going to get pissed at me, but (Borom’s) a powerful guy. He’s not as long as Germain, but he played at 352. Now he got skinny, wanted to make those swimsuit issues, he got down to (322). But that’s not what he needs to play at. He’s going to get back up to around (332), so that’s still 20 pounds lighter than he was before.”

“But he’s a big man who’s athletic, who played good competition. We’re excited. We’re going to put him over there behind Germain and let him compete with Germain.”

So there’s going to be a competition for the starting job?

“There’s going to be competition, as Germain knows,” Castillo said. “There’s always competition every year. But he’ll line up there to begin with, just like he’s lined up there for the last (six games). He lined up there for Seattle for three years and they were a pretty good football team, so Germain’s going to get the chance to line up there.”

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Castillo Has High Praise for Ifedi

Despite being challenged by Borom for the starting role, Castillo and company love what they’ve gotten from Ifedi, who showed improvement after working under the Bears’ o-line coach. During his first four seasons with Seattle, he had 11 or more penalties three of those years. He had just five called on him in 1,066 snaps last year, and Castillo says that’s plenty to build on.

“The thing that you look at is that Germain Ifedi is blessed with God-given talent. He was a first-round draft pick. My job as a coach is to get that out of him. I know that he hadn’t been playing like that at Seattle. But I think he improved. He cut his penalties over half from what he had at Seattle. And I think everybody would say that if you watched the tape, he played square, which was his problem at Seattle and I think he’s just gonna get better,” Castillo said about Ifedi.

“As we talk, he’s busting his ass in Texas in 100-degree weather,” Castillo added. “Works as hard as any guy I’ve been around. I don’t want to make predictions, but I would not be surprised if this kid made the Pro Bowl next year. Why not, right? Everything is possible, as we know.”

Ifedi looks like he’ll be the starter, but the battle for right tackle will be one of the most intriguing ones to watch heading into training camp and throughout the preseason.

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