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Seahawks’ Germain Ifedi calls on offensive line to get job done

Seahawks guard Germain Ifedi has changed his number, not his attitude; he knows he and his linemates need to produce. (Jeff Haynes / Associated Press)
Seahawks guard Germain Ifedi has changed his number, not his attitude; he knows he and his linemates need to produce. (Jeff Haynes / Associated Press)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

Few Seahawks were happier to see the team acquire veteran left tackle Duane Brown this week than right tackle Germain Ifedi.

A native of Houston, Ifedi remembers watching Brown from the minute he became a Texan in 2008 beginning a 10-year career that has included earning three Pro Bowls before his trade to Seattle earlier this week.

“His back and forth with (longtime Indianpolis Colt) Dwight Freeney was crazy,’’ Ifedi said of two players who in the last two weeks have suddenly become his teammates.

When he could, Ifedi wore Brown’s number 76 (though at Texas A&M he had to take 74). And the two later became friends, meeting first at a Houston gym where Ifedi approached Brown one day to tell him he admired his game. The two now share the same financial advisor and have continued to work out together in the offseason.

“It’s really cool to see it come full circle for him getting up here to play with us,’’ Ifedi said.

Ifedi, in fact, happily handed his number 76 back to Brown, taking 65 instead, saying he “didn’t take him to the cleaners’’ in the process. (Why did Ifedi choose 65 as his new number? Every number in the 70s was already accounted for and he didn’t want to take anyone else’s number. “It’s a little bit different but I can make it work,’’ he said.)

But Ifedi also said he doesn’t want the offensive line to consider Brown as a quick fix for everything that has ailed the Seahawks so far, notably a running game that has struggled to get going, bottoming out last week when Seattle managed just 33 yards on 21 carries but just five yards on 16 attempts from the team’s three tailbacks (Russell Wilson got most of the rushing yards with 30 on four attempts). That dropped Seattle to 21st in the NFL in rushing at 97.6 per game — 28 yards per game coming from Wilson who is the team’s leading active rusher with 194.

“Duane is a great help,’’ Ifedi said. “But it comes down to us getting the job done.’’

So what will it take for the Seahawks to get the running game going?

Ifedi responded with a lengthy and thoughtful answer.

“Just keep working at it,’’ he said. “Doing our jobs a little better. I think we can all play lower, get our fits better, run our feet better. As cliché as it sounds, that’s really the only logical answer I can give you because that’s the reality of it. We just have to be better. We have to really own what you are doing and own your assignment and do it to the best of your ability, the best of the ability that we know that we can. Because we know last week’s performance — that was a great game — but for the run game to be that stagnant was a little unacceptable to us as a line.

“And we kind of put that on us. We don’t put it on the backs, we don’t put it on the play caller. We put it on us. And we know going forward we have to be better running the ball, because come the colder months you can’t play drop back 60 times a game. You have to be able to run the ball.

“So we have taken it personally as a challenge. No coach had to tell us, nothing like that. No one had to do anything crazy. We know that we have to run the ball better. We know we have to be better at running the ball, finishing our blocks, getting our fits, running our combinations, running our feet and it will get going and we will give these guys some space to run.’’

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