Good guard: Ifedi likes the spot

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS - BY MARK POTASH, STAFF REPORTER mpotash@sun­times.com | @MarkPo­tash

Ger­main Ifedi sounds like he has found his com­fort zone.

When the Bears signed the for­mer Sea­hawks of­fen­sive line­man, the idea was that Ifedi — who was in­con­sis­tent as a start­ing tackle in Seat­tle — would ben­e­fit from a move to right guard, where he started 15 games, in­clud­ing two play­off games, as a Sea­hawks rookie in 2016.

All bets are off un­til the reg­u­lar sea­son be­gins, but Ifedi clearly has set­tled in at guard with the Bears, be­tween cen­ter

Cody White­hair and right tackle Bobby Massie. The pre­sumed po­si­tion bat­tle with 2019 starter

Rashaad Cow­ard never re­ally

hap­pened.

“It’s fun,” Ifedi, 26, said of play­ing guard again. “When I’m able to just come off the ball on a three tech­nique or a shade or what­ever, it’s al­ways fun. You kind of miss that at tackle a lit­tle bit. You kind of miss be­ing in the mid­dle, where you’ve got to move a guy off his spot and those types of things.

“It’s fun ball. And it re­ally helps you im­pose your will on guys, and we have no bet­ter peo­ple to do it against than our de­fense.”

The Bears’ de­fen­sive front, par­tic­u­larly Akiem Hicks and

Bi­lal Ni­chols, has chal­lenged Ifedi to be at his best.

“They do a great job of giv­ing me mul­ti­ple looks and keep­ing me off bal­ance,” Ifedi said. “Akiem has been great for me — great for my tran­si­tion back to guard. Bi­lal is a younger guy, but he has an arse­nal of pass-rush moves. Not know­ing much about him, he’s a re­ally im­pres­sive player, and he’s made me get a lot bet­ter.”

Hicks still out

Hicks (quadri­ceps) missed his fifth day of prac­tice Wed­nes­day. Coach Matt Nagy clar­i­fied that Hicks’ in­jury was not re­lated to him play­fully catch­ing a punt (and then punt­ing the ball in cel­e­bra­tion) as part of a chal­lenge in prac­tice last Thurs­day.

“It had noth­ing to do with it,” Nagy said. “He’s just work­ing through [the in­jury], and for us, [it’s] not a con­cern. It just doesn’t make sense to get him out there to do some­thing when we don’t feel it’s the time yet.”

A-Rob ‘in a good place’

Wide re­ceiver Allen Robin­son

(an­kle) missed his fourth day of prac­tice, but, again, Nagy is not alarmed.

“We’re tak­ing it re­ally slow with him,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘He’s in a good place.

‘‘There’s no need to rush right now. We know what A-Rob can do, and we want to make sure he’s there for Week 1.”

This and that

Safety Tashaun Gip­son did not par­tic­i­pate in prac­tice be­cause of a lower-back in­jury. “Noth­ing ma­jor,” Nagy said. Out­side line­backer Robert

Quinn, still “ramp­ing up” af­ter deal­ing with a per­sonal is­sue be­fore train­ing camp, did not par­tic­i­pate in 11-on-11 drills again.

In­side line­backer Ro­quan

Smith left prac­tice early, but Nagy in­di­cated that it was a mi­nor cramp­ing is­sue in the high­80s/low-90s heat.

Wed­nes­day’s prac­tice was par­tic­u­larly spir­ited with sev­eral en­ter­tain­ing ex­changes be­tween de­fen­sive and of­fen­sive play­ers.

NAM Y. HUH/AP

Ger­main Ifedi says it’s fun to be play­ing right guard in­stead of tackle this sea­son. ‘‘It re­ally helps you im­pose your will on guys,’’ he said.

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