Breno Giacomini: Penalties Need to Stop but It's Not Time to Bench Him...Yet

Darin Pike@darinpikeContributor IOctober 11, 2012

Carroll discussing the personal foul with Giacomini.
Carroll discussing the personal foul with Giacomini.

Dedicated Seattle Seahawks fans are well aware of the penalty issues Breno Giacomini has had thus far in 2012. They've been bad enough that many fans were calling for his brief benching vs. the Carolina Panthers to become permanent.

That decision would be hasty, as Giacomini is still the best option the team has at right tackle—for now.

The frustration is understandable. Seattle had its best offensive play of the 2012 season stripped away in Carolina due to a senseless holding penalty.

It appeared that Giacomini may have made a little tug on Charles Johnson's jersey coming off the line, but that isn't what got him in trouble. Johnson was stumbling and instead of giving him a good shove, Giacomini wrapped his arm around Johnson's back and pushed him down.

Seattle would have had the ball 1st-and-10 from the Panthers 12-yard line. Instead, they were backed up to their own 21-yard line. The Seahawks converted a pair of first downs but the drive stalled inside Panthers territory, resulting in a punt.

Still, it was the last play of the quarter would lead to some bench time for Breno.

Ben Obomanu had a great end-around play and gained first-down yardage. He slipped while attempting to cut back inside and then rolled into a Panthers defender. 

Sherrod Martin had just levied a hit on Sidney Rice and was looping back around to pursue the play. He was approaching Giacomini, who lowered his shoulder and knocked the much smaller cornerback to the ground.

The penalty was "after the play, personal foul, unnecessary roughness." The problem with the call is the hit was made prior to the play being dead and certainly before the whistle blew.

The overall effect of the penalties, as pointed out by Danny O'Neil of The Seattle Times, was staggering.

#Seahawks have 92 yards of offense in first quarter; Breno Giacomini has cost #Seahawks 81 yards in penalties and lost plays.

— Danny O'Neil (@dannyoneil) October 7, 2012

The start of the hit is visible In the picture below. Keep in mind that Obomanu wasn't down by contact until he was touched by No. 41, Captain Munnerlyn.

Giacomini couldn't see the play and didn't know Obomanu was on the ground and about to be touched. He also made contact on Martin before Obomanu was down by contact.

If one is looking for more proof that Giacomini is a marked target, they need to look no further than Rice on this play. Notice where he is in conjunction with Giacomini's block.

Here is a picture of the continuation of the play after Seattle's right tackle levied his hit.

There was no penalty called on Rice even though he traveled four yards to make his block after Giacomini made contact.

Pete Carroll addressed the penalty issue relative to Giacomini at the Seahawks' Week 6 Monday Press Conference

It's not because it's not emphasized. The message isn't hitting home yet. We'll just stay after it. We've got very aggressive guys. We sought them out and now we're dealing with it.

I think I stood here probably last week and told you Breno's got this thing fixed. Well, not yet. So he had to sit down a little a little bit in this game, just try to get his attention, and he finished the game well when he came back in—penalty free. But he was inhibited a little bit and he needed to be because the big plays that were taken away from us were significant.

His hit on the sidelines—I don't know why you have to call that a penalty. The guys in bounds standing there and the ball carrier's behind him—he doesn't know what happened. The whistle had not been blown. You can see the guy blow the whistle you know, after the fact of the hit. 

But still, when you're that aggressive and you're that tough it shows sometimes and they notice you. Breno needs to corral it or he won't get to play anymore. We'll have to sit him down.

Carroll recognizes that Seattle sought out players like Giacomini because of their toughness and physical play.

When asked if he takes part of the blame for the penalty issues considering the kind of guys they've gone after, Carroll responded "Heck yeah. Yeah, this is mine." He continued, "I've got to get this done. I gotta make it clear to the guys, the young guys on this team, how far you can go. They'll learn in time but we need them to know now. So we're learning the hard way and we got to get better at it."

Carroll took some time on game day to discuss the penalty issue with Giacomini. It needed to happen. Those following along with me on the live blog saw my reaction as well as the direction I felt the team would go at right tackle.

Giacomini re-entered the game with the offense on their following possession. It is clear that Frank Omiyale lacks the mobility and technique to be an every-down tackle, but he's currently the only reserve tackle on the roster. 

Russell Wilson already struggles with getting antsy in the pocket and needs a more reliable front-side protector. 

Marshawn Lynch has also thrived with Giacomini at right tackle. Replacing him with a less-skilled run-blocker would likely cause issues with one of the NFL's leading rushers. 

There is no stated return date for John Moffitt. He has been ruled out on Sunday against the New England Patriots.

J.R. Sweezy has shown promise at guard. He also showed in the game against the Arizona Cardinals that he has a lot of learning in front of him before he's ready to take on complicated defensive fronts in the NFL.

Until Moffitt is ready to return to the lineup, Paul McQuistan is the best option at right guard.

This leaves Giacomini at right tackle. He has another week to prove he can be penalty free and will be challenged by a solid Patriot pass rush.

He needs to remember he's a marked man and find a way to clean up his act. By now, players know what happens if they don't.

Darin Pike is a writer for Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team and a Featured Columnist covering the NFL and Seattle Seahawks.


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