Now, Giacomini steps in

Posted Nov 17, 2011

With rookie James Carpenter heading for injured reserve after tearing a knee ligament in practice on Wednesday, Breno Giacomini moves in as the new starter at right tackle.

This coaching cornerstone in trying times has become a way of life in the past four days for Tom Cable and the Seahawks’ offensive linemen.

“Yeah, that’s what you have to do,” Cable, the team’s assistant head coach/line coach, said Thursday after practice.

But twice in the same week? As unfair as it might seem, that’s the reality after rookie right tackle James Carpenter tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during practice on Wednesday and rookie right guard John Moffitt damaged the medical collateral ligament and posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens.

And the next-up bodies that will replace them in this week’s game against the Rams in St. Louis belong to Breno Giacomini and Paul McQuistan. While McQuistan stepped in for Moffitt in practice on Wednesday, Giacomini moved in for Carpenter in practice on Thursday.

“We’re pretty lucky to have Breno here and Paul, so we’ve got some veteran guys,” Cable said. “So we’ll be fine.”

The 6-foot-7, 318-pound Giacomini definitely looks the part. He is in his fourth NFL season after being selected in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Packers, when Seahawks general manager John Schneider also was in Green Bay. The Seahawks signed him off the Packers’ practice squad last September and he was active for one game, but did not play. This season, he started the opener against the 49ers in San Francisco at right tackle because Carpenter moved to left guard to replace an injured Robert Gallery, and has played in seven other games.

“It’s bad when somebody goes down, especially the way (Carpenter) went down,” Giacomini said. “He was getting better every day. So it’s tough to see that. But everybody goes through it, I think, at some point. I’ve been through it my rookie year, too.

“You’ve just got to put that behind you and move on, and continue doing what we’ve been doing as an offensive line. We’ve got something here, so we’re just being positive and trying to do what we’ve been doing.”

McQuistan, meanwhile, started three games at left guard for Gallery this season. He started 12 games in 2006-07 for the Oakland Raiders, when he also played for Cable.

“The good news is the training is kicking in, the system and all that,” Cable said when asked about having experienced replacements for Carpenter and Moffitt. “So it’s a negative thing in terms of having two young guys who were really starting to come into it and losing them. But at the same time, those other guys are ready to go.

“We should move forward and continue to get better.”

That move-ahead/don’t-look-back philosophy is shared by the other starters on the line.

“There’s nothing really that we can do about it. We can’t let it affect us,” center Max Unger said. “Really, there’s literally nothing that we can do about it. It sucks. But they’re both out for the season. So what are we going to do, not play the games?”

As Cable said, “We’ll be fine. Listen, it’s a shame. Injuries are part of the game. But we’re going to be fine. We’re all confident in that and I have no worries. We’re just going to move forward and continue to get better. That’s what we have to do.”

Those assessments were echoed by quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who has been sacked only twice in the last two games after going down 18 times in his first five starts.

“I’m going to try to keep the same thing going,” he said. “We’re going to pretty much keep the same game plan, but obviously those guys are a little different. Those guys haven’t played as much this year. … So you just want to make sure we get them going early and make sure they get the confidence going and know that they can get it done.”

The problem with losing Carpenter and Moffitt goes beyond them missing the final seven games this season. They’ll also miss time this offseason – for the second consecutive offseason. This year, they were deprived of the minicamps and OTA sessions because of the 136-day lockout. Next year, coach Pete Carroll said Moffitt will be back “at the end of the spring,” and the recovery period for an ACL tear is even longer.

“It’s tough on them because every day they do something, that is part of their development,” Cable said. “They didn’t have the offseason (this year), so the offseason (next year) would be valuable for them, as would the second half of the season. So we’re going to lose all that.

“But once we get them back, then we’ll go back to work and kind of catch them up.”

That, however, is a down-the-road challenge. The more immediate one involves not taking a step back despite losing two large pieces of the equation that have helped you take positive steps in recent weeks.

“We move forward,” Cable said. “We don’t change who we’re trying to become or what we’re trying to accomplish for our offense and for this football team. We don’t back down, we just go forward.”