As Seahawks offensive lineman Garry Gilliam sees it, the only benefit from being out of the starting lineup for two weeks was that he suffered no wear and tear to his body.
Which, of course, he hated.
“You don’t really benefit,” Gilliam said, “from not being in the game and playing.”
After starting 29 consecutive NFL regular-season and playoff games at right tackle, dating back to the start of last season, Gilliam took a seat in early December. He was benched in favor of Bradley Sowell.
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That lasted two-plus games. After Sowell’s so-so effort in the first half against the Los Angeles Rams, Gilliam rejoined the huddle.
And he stayed there, regaining the starting spot for the late-season game against Arizona — which arguably was the best of his career. According to Pro Football Focus, the third-year undrafted free agent out of Penn State did not allow a quarterback pressure for the first time in his career against the NFC West rival Cardinals.
Over his past three starts, Gilliam has allowed just two defensive pressures on Russell Wilson.
“I believe we are starting to see a little more of that finishing physicality out of him,” Seattle offensive line coach Tom Cable said.
Gilliam is a notorious thinker, as well as one of the more hilarious talkers in the Seahawks’ locker room. At crucial times, he admits his brain has gotten in the way.
“I don’t think necessarily the two affect each other in terms of me being a thinker and not being able to be physical,” Gilliam said. “It’s a matter of combining the two. For me, if I think too much, I come off the ball a little more passively. That’s all it is.”
Both Gilliam and rookie left tackle George Fant should have their hands full this weekend in the NFC divisional playoff game at Atlanta, facing off with defensive ends Vic Beasley Jr. — the NFL regular-season sack leader — and perennial All-Pro Dwight Freeney.
In their earlier matchup, a 26-24 Seahawks’ victory at CenturyLink field in October, Wilson was sacked once — on a cornerback blitz by Desmond Trufant.
“Obviously, we want to go out there and dominate, and impose our will upon people,” Gilliam said. “When we do that, that is when the wins come a little easier.”
Gilliam is just thankful for a second chance to prove he belongs in the starting lineup.
“It is where I am supposed to be, in my mind,” Gilliam said.
“Just go out there and play ball, get dirty and don’t think.”
WILSON LAUDS LOCAL NBA STAR
From the time former Curtis High School and University of Washington star Isaiah Thomas visited the VMAC, Wilson has been a fan of the Boston Celtics point guard.
The two have something in common: They were thought to be too short to be stars in their respective pro sports.
They have something else in common: They have put those lazy criticisms to rest.
“No matter what your size is, it is about what you’ve got inside with your abilities, and how you work at your game,” Wilson said. “Isaiah works at his game every day. I have a great appreciation for him, and other athletes who are very similar in that way.”
During his weekly press conference, Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin revealed that position coach Dave Canales gave him a harsh grade for his “Butt Catch” against the Lions on Saturday. “C-plus,” Baldwin said. ... Seattle defensive coordinator Kris Richard interviewed for the vacant head-coaching position in Buffalo over the weekend. Asked what he learned about himself in the interview, Richard answered, “That I am ready.” (The position was filled Wednesday by Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott.) ... Atlanta coach Dan Quinn announced his entire roster is healthy and ready to play Saturday, including star receiver Julio Jones (toe), who practiced fully Wednesday.