Of all the new players on the Jets’ roster – from rookie safety Calvin Pryor to wide receiver Eric Decker to presumptive backup quarterback Michael Vick – it seems pretty clear that right tackle Breno Giacomini is the most under-the-radar guy in training camp.
A lot of that stems from him playing on the offensive line. But, also, he has remained healthy and productive throughout camp. He has given no indication that there will be a hiccup in his chemistry with right guard and vocal team leader Willie Colon, who last season worked alongside Austin Howard.
Howard’s departure to Oakland in free agency left the Jets needing a new right tackle. General manager John Idzik mined his former employer, the Seahawks, and signed Giacomini. When the Raiders and Jets open the season against each other Sept. 7 at MetLife Stadium, it will be an intriguing opportunity for both Howard and Giacomini to show how well they are fitting in on their new teams.
Establishing chemistry with teammates is important for all players new to an organization, but it is especially important for offensive linemen. Colon and Giacomini got off to a slow start in that regard, because Colon began camp on the physically unable to perform list, due to offseason knee surgery.
Colon spent just three days on the PUP list. Then he and Giacomini got to work on developing a relationship that will be critical to the Jets’ offensive success.
“We communicate really well,” Colon said. “We get each other. We look at tape of practice extra because we understand that if we’re on the same page and we’re doing things right, it all equals success. I love the guy.”
Colon said Giacomini is “a little more raw in certain aspects” than Howard was. And some of that is to be expected, as Giacomini adjusts to a completely different blocking scheme.
Seattle used primarily outside zone running plays, while the Jets do more straight-ahead, power-oriented run blocking than the Seahawks. (You can read more about the differences here.) Probably most importantly, Giacomini has to block in double teams, often with Colon, far more frequently than he had to double-team block in Seattle.
For the most part, the Jets’ coaches have liked how Giacomini is handling the transition.
“Breno’s handled it well,” said assistant offensive line coach Ron Heller. “There are some times where maybe we haven’t been specific enough (with instructions), and he resorted to some of the old technique – not necessarily technique – but philosophical thinking on how to handle things. But we point it out to him, and he goes, ‘Oh, OK, you want it this way.’ And he does that.”
In the Jets’ blocking scheme, because of the double-team blocks, “You’ve got to get to know the guy next to you, so that you’re not both coming off (the line) at the same time (during double-team blocks),” Heller said.
He added that Colon and Giacomini “look like they’ve been playing together for quite a while. It’s been good.”
There is one possible wedge in the Colon-Giacomini relationship. Colon grew up in a housing project near Yankee Stadium and is a diehard Yankees fan. He even has their logo painted on his pickup truck. Giacomini grew up near Boston and roots for the Red Sox.
“We don’t talk too much about it,” Colon said, with a smile, of their baseball rooting interests. “We try to keep a happy home.”