Right after church on this last fine Sunday afternoon, I did what every God-fearing Seahawks fan without cable television did. Rounded up a few friends and went to a bar to watch the game. Wing Central in Ellensburg, just in case any of you guys happen to live in town. One burger with Hell-Wing sauce, a pitcher of beer, and the afternoon is off to a good start!
That's a fantastic way to enjoy a game, but a TERRIBLE idea if you want to use the "critical watching" part of your brain. It didn't help that one of my buddies kept trying to flirt with the waitress, leaving me the wingman... at a place called wings! "Why yes, he really DID carry me off Mt. Rainier on a broken leg after we got caught up in an avalanche." [Alyssa if you're reading this, Jeff's full of crap, but he's a good guy. Agree to the date when he calls].
Fortunately, Nate Dogg does a weekly video retrospective (link). It's the most amazing thing since free ice cream. In fact, it's BETTER than some flavors of free ice cream. I'm looking at you Rocky Road. One thing I wanted to do this week was compare Breno Giaco.however.the.hell.you.spell.his.name's pass blocking efforts with his work last week.
If you don't know who Breno is, he's our right tackle. If you don't know what a right tackle is, look for #68 on the offensive right.
Play 1. 0:07
1st and 10
McCoy (85) is lined up outside of Breno. The DE fires directly into Giacomini. The Russian absorbs the blow, but rocks back putting his weight behind his feet in the process. Fortunately, this also re-directed the DE right into McCoy, who double-teamed the defender for a moment, allowing Breno to recover his balance and establish a dominant position before McCoy releases into his route. This was an effective and clean block, although the technique was poor.
Play 2. 0:25
1st and 10
I'm really not sure what the hell was supposed to happen here, but I'm pretty sure Zach Miller (86) fucked up. Breno and Zach Miller double-team the DT, easily pushing him out of the passing lane. Unfortunately this leaves nobody on the DE. Fortunately Golden Tate was coming across the formation like a pulling guard executing a trap block. He saw a white jersey and thought it was cowboy hunting season again.
I think it's very likely that Miller was supposed to get the DE, and it's even more likely that our plan wasn't to leave him isolated on a wide receiver! If the play was drawn up the way I think it was, Breno did a nice job. Also nice: as Miller releases into his route the DT pulls back and tries to run with him. The bad news? That DE that tate smacked around got up and forced the throw before we could exploit this mismatch.
Play 3. 0:36
3rd and 7
McCoy is lined up to miller's right. Pre-snap the Panthers are showing an overload blitz to the offensive right. There's one linebacker sitting on top of Unger, with another sitting in the B gap. The 00 tech drops, while the B-gap backer comes.
Unger makes a fantastic read and takes the 3 tech DT, allowing the rest of the line to pick up their guys easily. McCoy chipped the incoming DE so hard that Breno really didn't even have to be on the field. By the time the DE had recovered, he was already out of the play. Fantastic play by Unger and McCoy. Giacomini did his job here, but was a complete non-factor in the game.
Play 4. 0:49
3rd and 9.
Zach Miller and Evan Moore (82) are both lined up tight to the line. However they both release cleanly into routes without chipping the end at all. This is the first play where Breno has been isolated against an End. The DE started with an inside move and a bull rush.
Breno's first step was piss-poor humiliatingly bad biomechanics. As in, he's made a mistake before he's even touched (or been touched by) a defender. What's worse, it's not the first play he's done this on (I saw it in the first play as well, but couldn't get a good screenshot). I have a shot here though, so lets take a look.
Yeah, it looks terrible, but I'm doing my graphics with MS paint on a laptop.
You'll notice that Breno (left and middle) is barely flexing at his ankles at all. Combined with a large bend of his knees, this puts his ass out over thin air (blue arrow), leaving him in an unbalanced position. By contrast, the image on the far right is Anthony McCoy, (from the exact same frame) blocking on the left hand side of the line. Notice that his body weight is distributed nice and evenly over the feet, allowing him to fluidly change directions or absorb a blow without losing his balance.
I'm assuming Wilson let go of the ball sooner than he wanted to because he sensed pressure from his right. At very least, the pass was completed well shy of the first down. On 3rd and 9. In the redzone.
Play 5. 1:00
1st and 10
Breno is still on the top half of the TV screen, so I can't prove what I'm about to say with an image. There's bodies in the way. But on his first step, Breno's inside (left) foot comes WAAAAAY to far to the outside, causing him to swivel his hips in that direction. I can't show you the feet, but I can show you the hips. Notice the defender hasn't even crossed the line of scrimmage yet, so this is clearly an unforced error.
I don't think it was, but I'll allow that given the play-action fake this could have been deliberate. Breno looks like he's trying to establish inside leverage in order to drive the DE to the sideline.
Regardless, the End bit on the play action fake, and went straight into Breno instead of getting his head across the shoulders and coming around for an easy sack. Breno does a good job of controlling the defender, but fails to release as the end eventually gets past him with an angle too wide to influence the play. Instead, Breno grabs some jersey and falls on top of him. Goodby 56 yard bomb to Tate. Hello 10 yard holding penalty.
Play 6. 1:17
1st and 20. Thanks again for that hold.
Breno picks up the LB coming in on a blitz. Does a pretty good job of getting deep, and muscles the defender to a dead stop. The LB tries to reverse direction only to get buried by McQuistan. Good blocking all the way around here and a nice throw to Baldwin to pick up about 17 yards.
Play 7. 1:28
1st and 10
Breno is isolated on his guy. He fires off a really lousy looking cut-block at the defenders knees. The play was a bubble-screen to the other side of the field, and our linemen cut-blocked on every bubble screen of the game. The Ball's out so damned quick the DEs really don't even HAVE to block.
Play 8. 1:38
2nd and 4.
Again, Breno sits his body weight too far back right after the snap, and it results in him getting his hips turned too quickly. However, he does an excellent job of riding his defender 7 yards downfield and keeping himself between the defensive player and the QB. The technique wasn't very pretty but you can't argue with the results. I did think Breno might have held his guy a bit, but the refs either didn't see it, or else Nate Dogg didn't leave that penalty call in the video. If my beer-hazed memory serves, it's the former. Nice work.
Play 9: 1:52
3rd and 4.
Breno's isolated on the DE who Bull-rushes with an inside move. The DT twists, and comes around untouched. To make matters worse, Wilson rolled out of a pretty clean pocket, right INTO the twisting DT's path. A comedy of errors on 3rd down. But we're specifically looking at Breno and he was fantastic. Even did his footwork and bio-mechanics exactly the way you're supposed to.
Play 10: 2:03
1st and 10.
NEVERMIND. The Seahawks brought in Frank Omiyale to play RT at the beginning of the second quarter.
Play 17 (I think? I wasn't counting carefully). 3:32
1st and 20.
Breno's isolated on a DE again. It's first and 20, so there's not much doubt about this being a pass play. His first two kick steps take him nearly 2 yards backwards and an almost equal distance to the right. His knees are forwards, his weight's over his feet, and he's right in the defender's lane. Breno looked really damned good on this play.
The defender even tries an illegal hands-to the face that's both ineffective and uncalled.
Play 18: 3:53
1st and 10.
A bubble screen to Tate has all the O-Linemen chip blocking again. Breno's block is effective. Rice on the other hand, lays down some weak-sauce at the point of attack. -3 yards.
Play 19: 4:00
3rd and 6.
The DE drops into the short zone. The DT pushes McQuistan, then moves on to Breno without making any real effort to get after Russel. Pretty sure his job was outside containment in the event of a scramble. It's really easy to block when the other guy isn't trying to get past you. Either that, or Breno did such an effective job on the block that it LOOKED like the other guy wasn't even trying. One of the two.
Play 20: 4:08
2nd and 8
WOW. This was a gutsy protection. Breno and McCoy both completely ignore the DE. McCoy goes straight into his route, while Breno double-teams the DT with McQuistan, opening up a bigassed throwing lane. It's play-action. M-Rob chips the DE's inside shoulder with authority before going into his route. Lynch comes up behind Robinson and takes on the DE solo.
It takes some serious cajones to isolate an RB on a DE! But the result's speak for themselves.
Even our midget leader has an unobstructed view of the pick-6 he tossed on this play.
Play 21: 4:35
3rd and 4
Trips right. Zach Miller picks up the DE. Breno stands there for 2 1/2 seconds without touching anyone. Hey, it happens all the time in pass-protection. More typically it happens to a guard, but it does happen all the time.
Play 22: 4:44
1st and 10
2 TEs right, both of whom release cleanly into routes leaving Breno isolated. He does a really good job of getting off the line and to the outside. With no option to speed-rush the DE tried to cut inside. Breno attacked forwards and knocked him out of the play. Clean pocket, and some excellent blocking by the entire O-line except Carp who didn't block anyone. I did just say that happens all the time....
Play 23: 5:02
1st and 10
And the bad Russian makes a showing here. He doesn't get enough depth on his initial kick step, and the defender is too far downfield for him to deal with. Less than half a second into the play he's "engaged" but has terrible body position. By the 1.5 second mark the defender has beat him around the corner completely. Thankfully, it was a shallow drop, and the DE cost himself the angle by going too deep. Lucky break.
Play 24: 5:30
1st and 10
I wish I could get the whole second from 5:32.00 to 5:33.00 in a frame by frame. Holy crap was that terrible!
The bit on the far right is a diagram of what an OT's feet are supposed to do during his first step off the line. He "kicks" the outside foot back at an angle, then "drags" the front foot. The idea is to move rapidly while keeping weight evenly distributed over both feet in case the D-linemen cuts inside. This technique is called a kick-step, and it's a basic part of line play.
The image on the far left is what Breno actually did. He 'planted' his inside foot, and his outside foot came backwards and inside. His front foot then had to come outside in order to maintai his balance.
As you can see in the middle image This spun his hips perpendicular to the line before the DE even touched him. It also opened up a HUGE hole in the B gap that we're fortunate no linebacker blitzed down.
It's literally 1 step into the play, and Breno's already messed it up. The DE rides him right into Wilson for what should have been an easy sack. Thankfully Breno managed to regain his balance, and counter-attack at the last possible moment. Unfortunately Wilson used the extra time to fire a rocket that Lynch bobbled straight into the air for an interception. Nice hands bro.
Play 25: 5:45
2nd and 9
He freaking does it again. This time bothers me less though, since he was chopping on a bubble screen. It was lousy technique and it left the defender in the passing lane. But he was focused on Breno around his ankles, and didn't notice the 100 MPH fastball going right over his head.
Also, I don't like how our line always chop-blocks on these bubble-screens. One of my favorite plays in football is the draw-play where you pump-fake the bubble screen first. It gets the DEs to jump in the air, making them easy for the OT's to clobber. Dear Mr. Cable. I know you're one of the best O-line coaches on the planet, but could you please run the Seahawks more like the way I want you to?
Play 26: 5:58
2nd and 10
The DE is lined up wide of the TE. Just based on where he's lined up, getting good position on him is going to be tough. So instead Breno peels off the line immediately and dives at the shins. Between the distance he had to run and the slowing effect of the chop, Breno's guy was a non-factor on the play. I thought the block itself was terrible but hey, it was damned effective so I won't complain.
Play 27: 6:09
3rd and 10
It's an DE/DT twist, with the latter looping outside for a free rush. If you don't know what that means, check the picture below.
Firstly, the DE attacks Breno's inside shoulder and tries to get upfield as far as possible (#1 in the blue). His goal is to occupy both Breno and McQuistan. The DT loops around to the outside following the red #2 path. The defense's goal is to give the tackle a free-run at the QB.
There's two common ways to defend this, "zone" and "man". In a "zone" scheme the guard will step into the DE and begin blocking him. This lets the OT release and pick up the DT as he loops around. In a "man" scheme, the OT rides his guy through the play, and the guard has to make an athletic move to the outside. This is more challenging and far less common.
As you can see in the second image, the guard McQuistan (Orange Arrow) is out of position to impact the play at all. This is the sort of communication breakdown that leads to your QB getting pancaked by a 350 pound guy doing his best Usain Bolt impersonation.
Most of the blame for this one should go to McQuistan. Its the interior guys job to recognize what's happening and make sure he's in the correct position. Breno could have helped a bit more by driving the end closer to the line of scrimmage, but that's a Walter Jones sort of play, not something you can really expect out of a regular guy.
Play 28: 6:24
1st and 10
Observation first. We seem to have thrown a huge % of our pass-plays on 1st and 10 here. Granted 1st and 10 is also the most common down in football, so a higher percentage of ALL your plays are going to come in that scenario. But I'd be curious to see what the 'Hawks pass/run ratio on first down is, and how that compares to the NFL average. I don't think we're as Run-Run-Pass heavy as many of the critics are complaining about.
The play's a bubble screen. Our whole line chop-blocks again. This time Breno hits his guy right in the knees and sends him to the dirt. Sexy.
Play 29: 6:34
2nd and 8
This was a read run-pass option. Breno ignores the DE and moves towards the LB as though he's about to run-block him. This was clearly deliberate, because the backer wasn't showing blitz (or coming). It's not a case of leaving the DE uncovered to pick up interior pressure. Wilson reads the DE crashing the line, pulls the ball back, and rolls right going behind the linemen.
Maybe I'm just stubborn, but I really don't like any protection scheme that deliberately gives the DE a free-run at your QB. I'm not entirely sure what Breno's job was on this play, but other than blocking the DE I didn't see him NOT doing anything I wanted him to be doing.
Play 30: 6:57
3rd and 8
The panthers drop 8 into coverage. They're determined to hold the Seahawks to a red-zone field goal. Despite the 3 man rush, both OT's end up on an island, as the guards stay forwards to maintain central integrity.
Fortunately good Breno shows up here. He drops back well, getting depth, angle, and staying over his feet. The DE gets completely stonewalled.
Wilson throws a nice pace to Tate, who plays pinball and bounces into the endzone. TOUCHDOOWWWWWWWWN!!11!1!OMGLOLZOLZOWL!1!!11!
Play 31: 7:30
1st and 10
Breno's feet get way too close together as he engages the defender. This costs him the ability to move laterally, and the defender easily runs past Giacomini. Fortunately the defender lost his own balance trying to turn the corner and #86 recovered quickly enough to bury him. Better lucky than good I suppose.
Play 32: 7:43
3rd and 13
This is the first time all game where I've seen Giacomini look weak against the bull rush. He gets driven straight back with authority and stood up by the defender. As the defender starts to shed him to the left, Wilson slides to the right, fixing Breno's body position for him. Unfortunately there's a DT sitting on the outside with containment as his responsibility. Wilson plays tag with the linemen, throwing the ball away before it's his turn to be "it".
Breno gets out of his stance quickly and into the play. He's got some crazy strength for an OT, allowing him to bully the smaller DEs whenever they lock up. His cut block isn't pretty, but it is effective. He's also fairly young. 27 years old with 8 career starts coming into this season.
Unfortunately Breno's fundamentals are wildy inconsistent. Every now and then he'll take a bad first step and just completely fuck himself on the play. The good news is that when he plays with proper technique, he's very good. I only saw Breno get beat by a defender once or maybe twice the entire game. The rest of the time he shot himself in the foot with unforced errors and shit technique.
The biggest thing we can do as an offense to help #86 in pass protection is run the draw play to his side with some frequency. In particular, it would be nice if we could force that DE to be responsible for the B-gap. A DE with B-gap responsibility will have to stay inside more, and that's something the 'ragin Russian can handle, even with lousy technique.
Another thing (and we saw it this game) is to give him some help via chip-blocks early in the game. Chipping TEs and LBs negate the effectiveness of an outside speed rush, giving Breno time to recover from his mistakes (think that very first pass play). It also allows Giacomini to get into the game flow without giving up a sack. He seems to play better as the game goes on, so this is most important at the start of the game,
As for Breno's future with the seahawks, I'd say that's dependent on his continued development. We can compensate for his weaknesses, but (obviously) we'd rather not have them at all. Breno has enough quickness to play RT in the NFL, and enough strength to really dominate at the position. If he cuts down on the unforced errors as the season progresses and demonstrates consistently good technique, he has the potential to be an above average starter for years to come. On the other hand, if he's plateaued and simply doesn't have the concentration to play mistake free we could be looking for a new RT with the 32nd pick in the upcoming NFL draft.