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The right decision – who starts at right tackle?

By Liz Mathews

The right decision?

“We had two tackles and they split the game,” head coach Pete Carroll said following the Seahawks 20-3 victory over the Raiders on Friday night. “You might have seen some substitutions in the offensive line up front to make sure we have on film some good stuff for evaluation so we know that what we’re doing is right and we’re making the right decisions in the next couple of days.”

Rookie James Carpenter is battling veteran Breno Giacomini for the Seahawks starting right tackle position. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)

That is, the right decision as to which right tackle will start next week in the regular season opener against the 49ers.

First-round pick James Carpenter and veteran Breno Giacomini shared time at the position throughout Friday’s game. The two tackles had also split reps with the first team offense this past week in practice.

The Seahawks acquired Giacomini in 2010 off the Packers’ practice squad.

“Breno last year, and coming into this year, we expected him to be able to play, and we expected him to be a factor, and he’s done a very good job, he’s really improved a ton,” Carroll said. “He’s played beautifully during the preseason. We have a good situation, and we just have to figure out how far along we are.”

Carpenter started Friday night for the Seahawks and played into the final series of the game.

“I wasn’t given a message, I just did what the coach told me to do,” Carpenter said in the locker room after the win. “If I had to stay in there, I just stayed. I didn’t expect anything, I know I’m young, I’m a rookie and that I was going to have to play a while this game. I just felt like I had to get it together in a way because like I said, last week wasn’t the greatest game for me.

“So it was a wake up call and I just worked harder than I ever worked trying to get the job done today.”

Carroll referred to Carpenter as a “monster blocker” he hopes to utilize early in the season. But just how early remains to be seen. With Giacomini making the push for the starting position, it appears that the competition at right tackle is wide open.

“We don’t have a problem,” Carroll said. “It’s how far has James come. It’s been extraordinarily hard to have him do this in just one camp’s time. He’s going against the best guys that we can throw him against. We evaluate, we know he’s getting better.

“He’s going to play a ton this year, when we decide to go with him or not this week coming up.”

News and notes

– Left tackle Russell Okung dressed for Friday night’s game and participated in pregame warm-up activities, but did not actually play in the game. “Everything is set and all indications are that he’s playing,” said Carroll looking ahead to the game in San Francisco. “We just have to make it through the week in practice and we’ll see that he can hold up, but he feels good about it.”

– Veteran left guard Robert Gallery and defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson both suffered knee sprains Friday night and are expected to undergo MRIs on Saturday. “They are significant enough where we have to be concerned about next week for these guys, then we’ll know,” Carroll said. “Dorson Boyce had a little shoulder stinger, should be ok. A couple of bangs and bruises other than that, but those are two significant shots; we’ll have to take a look at and see where Robert will be and where Jimmy will be for next week.”

– Both wide receiver Mike Williams and running back Marshawn Lynch were sidelined for Friday’s game, but Carroll expects both to be available in San Francisco. WR Sidney Rice, while improving from a sore shoulder, remains day-to-day.