RENTON – Breno Giacomini quickly halted Red Bryant’s path to the quarterback during pass rush drills Sunday, stuffed the stout defensive end on his backside and tauntingly glared at his teammate as if to ask, “You want some more?”
It’s the type of nasty, in-your-face swagger Seahawks fans have grown accustomed to seeing from the team’s edgy right tackle.
But what they do not want to see is what usually followed in 2012 – a yellow penalty flag being tossed Giacomini’s way from the back of an officials’ pocket.
Finding the balance between playing to the whistle instead of through the whistle has been a constant battle for the University of Louisville product since he emerged as the team’s starting right tackle at the end of the 2011 season.
He led the Seahawks with 12 accepted penalties in 2012, including a team-high four personal foul penalties.
“Breno is a tremendous football player,” Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said. “He has great knowledge of the game, he gets off the line and he’s so aggressive when the play is going on all the way up to the very last second.
“That’s what makes him really good for us. He’s that edgy player on the offensive line. You need one of those. You’ve got to be careful having two of them, but you need one of them for sure, so he’s that guy for us.”
However, only five of Giacomini’s 12 penalties came after Week 6 – and none in the postseason – as he figured out how to play aggressive within the rules.
Giacomini wants to carry over a similar type of effort for the upcoming season.
“He becomes the example sometimes because of getting some of those ridiculous penalties
early in the season,” Seattle offensive line/assistant head coach Tom Cable said. “And he knows. But there’s a time when you’re playing, playing and playing, and when it gets close to the whistle you can’t take that extra step, that extra shot. And so let’s put all of that behind us, and be cognizant of the fact that we don’t want any penalties.”
While unnecessary penalties have been an issue, durability has not. Giacomini was one of three offensive lineman (Max Unger and Paul McQuistan were the others) to start every game for Seattle last season. And he played in 15 games in 2011, including eight as the starting right tackle.
The 27-year-old is in the final season of a two-year deal that will pay him $3.5 million this season. He had offseason elbow surgery in January, but has had no setbacks in training camp.
Michael Bowie, Seattle’s seventh-round selection in this year’s draft, was brought in to push Giacomini for the starting job, and would be a cheaper alternative at the position. Some league observers suggest the Seahawks could use an upgrade at right tackle but for now, Cable seems pleased with the progress Giacomini has made.
“He’s consistent,” Cable said. “He’s got a great attitude about how he prepares. And when it’s time to play, you get everything he’s got. So I think for his teammates, his coaches, we all admire that and appreciate that.
“And his level of play, from when he first went into the lineup in 2011, has just continued to get better. He has some deficiencies that we’re always trying to improve. The cool part is he’s aware of them, he owns them and he’s always working to try and smooth them out and fix them.”
Giacomini said he’ll continue to make the needless penalties a thing of the past.
“It’s about focus,” Giacomini said. “And I’m just not going to do it (commit needless penalties). You’ve got to find that line I guess, and that’s what I was doing early in the season – you know, what are these refs going to call, or not going to call. So you figure it out, and I did. And the second half of the season, from Week 6 on, it was good.
“I’ve just got to keep getting better. And penalties is an area (to improve), but so is my technique, the knowledge of the game, playbook – everything. Name something and I’ve got to get better at it. I didn’t play like I wanted to play last year. So I have to improve.”Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 eric.williams@ thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks @eric_d_williams