Dave Boling: Some stays on the Seahawks' sideline nearing an end

Tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini — and parts of Seahawks’ offense — have suffered through past 7 weeks

Staff writerNovember 14, 2013 

Seahawks offensive tackles Breno Giacomini, left, and Russell Okung work out before a Nov. 3 game against Tampa Bay at CenturyLink Field. The pair of starters have been on the sideline for seven weeks because of injuries, but they appear to be ready to return Sunday against Minnesota.

JOE BARRENTINE/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

— They were rarely apart, these two Seattle Seahawks limping along in tandem: The Brotherhood of Broken Tackles.

Side-by-side on the shelf for seven weeks, Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini were together so much it would have been easier to identify them with one of those smashed-up celebrity-couple names: Russomini or Brokung.

But on the practice field Wednesday, the two were back in action together, and, if fortune permits, they might be active for the Sunday home game against Minnesota.

Okung came out of the San Francisco game Sept. 15 with a toe injury that required surgery and led to his placement on the short-stay injured-reserve list.

Giacomini went out the following week with knee trouble that required surgery.

In the seven weeks the two of them were out together, quarterback Russell Wilson was sacked 20 times and absorbed 45 quarterback hits.

The Hawks’ offense tumbled, too, going from 16th to 24th in the league in passing offense.

But they still managed to mount a 9-1 record and develop experience among the offensive line depth-chart guys in the process.

Although all the returners are subject to re-evaluation during the week, it’s possible that center Max Unger (concussion) also might be available to join Okung and Giacomini.

The biggest wild card is the status of quicksilver receiver Percy Harvin, who practiced on a limited basis Wednesday, supporting the possibility that he could see his first action as a Seahawk on Sunday against the team from which he was acquired.

“It’s exciting for our team to get some guys back,” offensive line

coach Tom Cable said. “And to start working them into the mix. They have some catching up to do ... there’s a whole process you have to (go through) this week as we put in the game plan and kind of adapt them back into the work load.”

The 6-foot-7, 318-pound Giacomini had never missed a game with injury in his career, so being sidelined was a new experience. One that was made more tolerable by Okung’s company.

“I don’t wish anybody to get an injury, not even the enemy (players), but it was a lot easier having my partner right here with me ... keeping a positive attitude,” Giacomini said. “Because when you’re hurt, it’s hard to do that. (He) definitely helped ... in the weight room, the training room. ... It was cool to have him there.”

Okung, a former first-round draft pick with a 2012 Pro Bowl on his résumé, has fought through ankle injuries and a torn pectoral muscle before this season’s injury.

This time around, he had a kindred spirit in the rehabilitation process.

“It was great having Breno there,” he said. “We’re two guys who are passionate about the game; we love the game and couldn’t wait to get back. We were encouraging each other the whole way.”

Their injuries left the Hawks to throw seventh-round rookie Michael Bowie into Giacomini’s spot at right tackle, and move Paul McQuistan from left guard to left tackle.

“No doubt, we’ve had issues,” Cable said of the shuffling. At Atlanta on Sunday, Cable tried some unconventional subbing, which brought rookie Alvin Bailey in at left tackle for pass-protection purposes.

“We just had to figure out a way to help the team,” Cable said. “If it means moving those guys in and out ... it worked, so it was good.”

Giacomini said he thought the young guys improved every week, and Bowie did “a great job ... I’m going to have to go out there and show I’m ready.”

Giacomini said he’s so looking forward to getting back on the field, he doesn’t mind if Cable decided to call for wholesale line shifts like a hockey team.

“We’ve got great depth around the whole locker room,” Giacomini said. “Last year, we were lucky to not get any injuries. But this year ... it’s next man up. That’s why you’re a Seahawk. That’s why you made this team because we know you can play.”

dave.boling@thenewstribune.com
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