RENTON – Breno Giacomini knows what to expect when he faces Green Bay pass-rushing terror Clay Matthews: a high-motor guy who doesn’t take plays off.
A fifth-round draft choice by the Packers in 2008, Giacomini faced Matthews in pass-rush drills after Green Bay selected the USC product No. 26 overall in 2009.
Giacomini, Seattle’s starting right tackle who joined the Seahawks in 2010, understands he has a tough task in slowing down Matthews, the league’s leading sack man heading into Week 3 with six already this season.
“You’ve just got to finish to the whistle,” he said. “That’s the thing with him. If you’ve seen a lot of his sacks, they’re just effort sacks. He just doesn’t stop. And I respect that. He’s a good player, and you’ve just got to keep playing with him, keep fighting him.”
Seattle coach Pete Carroll, who coached Matthews in college, said the Trojans’ coaching staff didn’t realize how talented Matthews was until his senior season.
Matthews arrived at USC as a 208-pound walk-on, wanting to follow in the footsteps of his father, USC legend and longtime NFL linebacker Clay Matthews II.
Carroll said the younger Matthews showed up as a talented special-teams player, and he earned a scholarship by his sophomore year but played behind another first-round pick, Brian Cushing, most of his career with the Trojans.
Matthews finally started two games as an outside linebacker his junior season when Cushing got hurt, and then earned a starting job as a senior as a stand-up defensive end, similar to the Leo defensive end position that Chris Clemons plays for Seattle.
“He really played the same position he plays now in rushing the passer and all of that, and he was a marvelous part of our team,” Carroll said.
“It took him a while because of the guy he was playing behind, to really get to the surface. But now that he’s arrived, I think that he is one of the truly special ‘effort’ guys in the league. He’s quick, he’s strong, he’s instinctive and all of that, but what separates him is that he’s relentless.”
Now 6-foot-3 and 255 pounds, Matthews’ tenacious effort has helped lead Green Bay to a league-high 11 sacks this year. The three-time Pro Bowl selection has 351/2 career sacks.
Carroll said Seattle will use several different ways to slow Matthews, including keeping a tight end on his side to block, sliding the protection to his side and using the running backs to chip him before going out on a route.
Giacomini also had another suggestion.
“How do you deal with him? Run the ball,” Giacomini said. “And just use your technique. I’ll be doing some extra studying on him.”
WILSON READY TO AIR IT OUT
A lot has been said about the Seahawks’ passing offense and the lack of productivity in terms of yards this season.
Through two weeks, Seattle is averaging 136 yards a game, last in the NFL.
The Seahawks have not thrown the ball because they’ve been in close games, and running back Marshawn Lynch drives the offense, so rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has not been asked to sling it around very much.
But Wilson believes if called upon in a potentially high-scoring game against a high-powered offense such as Green Bay, he can push the ball down the field for big gains.
“Oh yeah, definitely,” Wilson said, when asked if he could be successful airing it out. “But we’ve got one of the best running backs in the game, too. So you’ve got to do what’s best for our football team, and we’ve got a great defense.
“I’m not worried about that. I think that we can throw it around at any time, any place. It’s just one of those things where you have to do what’s effective at the time, and be smart with the football and take some time off sometimes too in those situations as well.”
For Seattle, cornerback Byron Maxwell (hamstring) and receiver Doug Baldwin (shoulder) did not participate in practice Friday. Receiver Charly Martin (chest), offensive tackle Russell Okung (knee), tight end Zach Miller (foot) and Lynch (back) were full participants. For Green Bay, linebacker Jamari Lattimore (ankle) did not participate in practice. Receiver Randall Cobb (hamstring), cornerback Davon House (shoulder), guard Josh Sitton (knee), running back James Starks (toe), defensive end C.J. Wilson (groin), tight end Tom Crabtree (shoulder), receiver Greg Jennings (groin) and safety Sean Richardson (hamstring) were limited participants. Linebacker Terrell Manning (concussion) and linebacker Nick Perry (wrist) were full participants. The Seahawks signed linebacker Allen Bradford to the practice squad. Seattle made room for Bradford by letting go of offensive lineman Rishaw Johnson.firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks