Determined to improve their porous offensive line after a disastrous 2013 season in which rookie quarterback Geno Smith saw himself sacked 42 times, the Jets went fishing in the market for offensive linemen this offseason. Armed with more than $30 million in cap space, the Jets set out to make a splash, and they did not disappoint. With the signing of former Seattle Seattle Seahawk Tackle Breno Giacomini, the Gang Green definitely bolstered their O-line, but to what extent?
For an offensive lineman, Giacomini’s 4-year, $18 million contract is fairly large. In 2012, Giacomini started all 16 regular season games for the Seahawks, but last season, he only started nine due to a knee injury. His durability is an issue, which is especially worrying to a Jets team that may lose G Willie Colon for part of the season already. Giacomini needs to prove he is fully healed and ready to go in the upcoming season, as the 5th-year veteran will be a leader on the O-line alongside longtime Jet D’Brickashaw Ferguson.
Giacomini’s stats are not particularly spectacular when compared to those of his peers. Last season, he allowed four sacks in just nine games as tackle, while accruing six total penalties, four of which were for false starts. He has looked shaky at times, and despite his 6’7″ 318 lb frame, he has been overpowered by smaller defensive linemen. It is unclear how consistent he will be protecting mobile quarterbacks Geno Smith or Michael Vick, though it is important to note he has experience protecting a fleet-footed QB in Russell Wilson. He will have to quickly learn Marty Mornhinweg’s scheme at QB, which is no easy task for an offensive lineman transitioning from a super-bowl contender to playoff hopeful. As a large free-agent signing, much will be expected of him, and Giacomini needs to live up to his new contract.
One thing Giacomini does not lack is toughness. All through his tenure in Seattle, Giacomini was revered by the city’s passionate football fans for his refusal to back down under any circumstance. That attribute of his will be a welcome asset to the Jets’ O-Line, which could use some grit. He plays with a chip on his shoulder, and will always give 100%, no matter if his team is winning by 20 or losing by 20. That toughness will come to be appreciated by NY Jets fans in time, and soon, Giacomini will become a fan favorite because of his passion for doing his job.
With Colon sidelined for possibly first few games of the season with a knee injury, Giacomini will have to step up. He will be thrust into the role of one of the main protectors of the quarterback, which he must succeed in. Giacomini will have to work extra hard in the passing game, as the Jets, who loaded up on targets this offseason, are expected to throw the ball quite a bit. His work in the trenches will be acknowledged, as long as Smith (or Vick) is standing upright by the time the play ends.
There is no question Giacomini’s biggest effect on the Jets will be in the run game. That is his specialty, plain and simple. He will provide big holes for the thunder and lightning combination of Chris ivory and Chris Johnson, and he will be a key cog in the success of the Jets’ ground attack. His best work has been done when he is on the offensive against opposing linemen, not retreating in defense of the quarterback. With his addition, it will be interesting to see how much the Jets’ already-vaunted running game improves.
There is no doubt in the minds of Jets’ fans and front office brass that the addition of Breno Giacomini will have a positive effect on the offense. At the very least, he will bolster the running game and provide veteran leadership for up-and-coming lineman such as rookie tackle/guard Dakota Dozier and 2nd-year guard Patrick Ford. At the most, his presence will be felt in the passing game as well as the Jets hope to protect their quarterback much better than they did last season. As for now, Jets’ fans can only debate the extent Giacomini’s effect on the team and hope some of his super-bowl charm rubs off on the Jets in this upcoming season.