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Germain Ifedi: 2017 NFL penalty leader

Sam Gold posted an article a few weeks ago talking about Germain Ifedi’s season thus far and how things had been looking up for the Seattle Seahawks right tackle. It’s true that from a pressures allowed perspective, Ifedi has improved substantially. Despite the turmoil of the offensive line in general, he’s been a solid contributor on the right side of the line. However, Ifedi’s performance so far this year is notable for another reason and it is not good. Not good at all.

Penalties.

Through six games this season, Ifedi has been the target of nine penalty calls, which leads the league. Of those, seven have been accepted (1.17 per game), and on average have cost the Seahawks 7.83 yards per game. For reference, Ifedi had six false start penalties all of 2016, while in 2017 he already has four. Worst of all, of his nine called penalties, five have happened on third down, though two of them were declined with one of them declined due to turnover. This means Ifedi is highly responsible for killing at least three drives, with a overall negative impact of 47 yards over five games.

Already this season, Ifedi has already exceeded his rookie totals for flags, penalties accepted, yards lost, and accounts for over 16 percent of all Seattle penalties. While he doesn’t lead the league in yardage lost, Ifedi is in the top 25. This does not bode well for the Seahawks’ offensive success going forward.

While Ifedi has performed at an elevated level with respect to his blocking, especially these last two games, his lack of clean play is of particular concern. Despite the offensive line having its best game of 2017, Ifedi drew three flags. Going forward, this has to be a point of emphasis for improvement, especially as Seattle enters the second half of the season and pushes for a playoff spot in the suddenly contentious NFC West. We can expect the Seahawks could be in some very close games against strong opponents such as the Jaguars and Texans, because that’s what the Seahawks do. The effect of stalled drives due to an overabundance of yellow flags on the field will only be magnified in such matchups.

It’s great for Ifedi to be doing a much better job of protecting Russell Wilson, but silly mistakes like false starts, which have nothing to do with helping him protect Wilson, are not helping his cause with fans who are so quick to criticize him and his line-mates already.