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.”
IN AND OUT
In addition to Lynch, middle linebacker David Hawthorne also returned to practice after being sidelined since injuring a knee in the second preseason game against the Vikings. But his reps were limited and most came with the No. 2 defense as rookie K.J. Wright continued to fill the spot with the starting unit.
Wide receiver Sidney Rice (shoulder) and just-acquired tackle Jarriel King (ankle) were sidelined, along with Gallery. On Rice and Gallery, Carroll said, “Both those guys are making good progress and we’ll just go day to day and figure out what that means at the end of the week.”
Ben Obomanu worked in Rice’s spot with the No. 1 offense.
Tight end John Carlson has had the scheduled surgery to repair the labrum he tore in practice last month, an injury that forced the club to put him on injured reserve when the roster was cut to 53 players on Saturday.
The successful procedure was performed on Monday by team doctor Ed Khalfayan at Seattle Surgery Center. Carlson will miss the season while recovering from the surgery.
Five players have changed numbers: Cornerback Brandon Browner, who was No. 37, is now No. 39; safety Jeron Johnson, who was No. 35, is now No. 32; wide receiver Kris Durham, who was No. 84, is now No. 16; quarterback Josh Porter, who was No. 13, is now No. 2; and practice-squad wide receiver Ricardo Lockette, who was No. 2, is now No. 83.
STAT DU JOUR
Number of the day: Two. As in the number of players who will start on offense for the Seahawks against the 49ers who also started last season’s opener against the 49ers in Seattle. Those players? Wide receiver Mike Williams and Max Unger, who started at right guard last year but will be at center on Sunday.
Here’s a look at the then and now lineups:
WR – Deion Branch, 2010; Rice or Obomanu, 2011
LT – Tyler Polumbus, 2010; Russell Okung, 2011
LG – Mike Gibson, 2010; Gallery or Carpenter, 2011
C – Chris Spencer, 2010; Unger, 2011
RG – Unger, 2010; John Moffitt, 2011
TE – John Carlson, 2010; Zach Miller, 2011
WR – Williams
QB – Matt Hasselbeck, 2010; Tarvaris Jackson, 2011
RB – Justin Forsett, 2010; Lynch, 2011
FB/TE – Chris Baker, 2010; Michael Robinson, 2011
The players will practice on Thursday afternoon, as they continue their preparation for the 49ers.
Steve Largent, the Seahawks’ Hall of Fame wide receiver, will help salute Washington’s military men and women at Kickoff Rallies in Spokane (Friday) and Tacoma (Saturday). The Spokane event takes place at Clock Tower Meadow in Riverfront Park from 4:30-6 p.m. The Tacoma event will be at Cheney Stadium from 2-3:3 p.m.
The events also will launch the new Hometown Heroes Raffle from Washington’s Lottery. Fans attending will be able to sign Seahawks’ “12” flags that will be flown outside the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena and at the Washington National Guard Camp at Camp Murray in Tacoma.
YOU DON’T SAY
“You know, it’s different in the sense that it’s a new head coach, new staff, new regime coming in. So obviously an entirely different feel, different atmosphere. Then the big change with no offseason. Obviously the lockout and all that stuff made this year unique in its own right. So yeah, a lot of new things.” – 49ers QB Alex Smith, during a conference-call interview with reporters who cover the Seahawks