A recap of the day’s events at Virginia Mason Athletic Center on the first Wednesday of the regular season:
Breno Giacomini. After the Seahawks signed the 6-foot-7, 318-pound tackle off the Green Bay Packers’ practice squad last season, it was difficult to tell how well he could play because he never got to play. Giacomini was inactive for six games and did not play in the one game when he was on the active roster.
But he has answered any and all questions the past two weeks while splitting time at right tackle with first-round draft choice James Carpenter, and Giacomini could make his first NFL start in Sunday’s regular-season opener against the 49ers in San Francisco because left guard Robert Gallery has yet to practice this week after spraining a knee in the preseason finale against the Raiders on Friday night.
Left guard? Right tackle? How does that work? Carpenter has moved over to Gallery’s spot in practice, putting Giacomini on the right side with the starters.
“Late in the season, when Breno had been around with us, it was clear that he had grown a lot,” coach Pete Carroll said, referring to Giacomini’s development as a player not in stature.
“We liked him because he was a tough guy; he’s a monster of guy, size-wise. But we weren’t sure. We weren’t sure about his overall ability and playing. Could he be a starting tackle? Late in the season, after we had seen him compete against our guys on the big days of competition in practice with all the pass-rush reps, it really looked good.”
Working on the scout team against the Seahawks’ defense is one thing. Working with the starters against other teams’ No. 1 defense in games is sometime completely different. But Giacomini also passed that test in the last two preseason games.
“Coming back to camp, he was ready,” Carroll said. “He was in great shape – fit, strong, smart quick with his mind and his decision-making and all of that. And then he played a beautiful preseason. So we really feel great about that.”
Good enough to move Carpenter over to replace Gallery, if needed.
“The freedom to move James and take a look at this left tackle thing is because Breno has done so well,” Carroll said. “It’s all over the film. So we’re really happy about that.”
Marshawn Lynch. The team’s leading rusher had not practiced since spraining an ankle in the second preseason game. He made up for the lost time today during the two-hour practice in full pads.
“He’s got fresh legs,” Carroll said. “He’s ready to go.”
And Lynch did. Go, that is. On his first carry in a full-team drill, he broke a long run after sliding through a crease in the line. On another, he started, stopped and then went after setting up his blocks – and effort that prompted line coach Tom Cable to offer, “That’s it 24. That’s it.”
Is Carroll concerned about how the prolonged inactivity might affect Lynch? To the contrary.
“I think it’s good for him,” Carroll said. “He hasn’t taken very many hits, but he’s been in on all the practice sessions and all of the prep time, so he knows what’s going on. He knows his calls, his pickups and all that stuff. He knows what’s happening.”
That’s because Lynch has been leaning into the huddle even when sidelined to get those calls and assignments that Carroll spoke of.
“We feel very good about the fact that here we are at the opening game and he feels great right now,” Carroll said. “He’s going to get the ball a lot. He’s going to have to withstand a lot, so I think the fact he hasn’t logged a bunch of hits up to this time in the first four (preseason) games is going to help us in the long haul.”