Giacomini a Talented Enigma

Coach Mike McCarthy says Breno Giacomini will challenge Mark Tauscher for the starting job at right tackle. Given Giacomini's track record, that's just baloney. But is there something to it?

Breno Giacomini is the biggest enigma on the Green Bay Packers' roster.

And not just because he's a towering 6-foot-7 and well-built 311 pounds.

Giacomini, a fifth-round pick in 2008, obviously has talent. Otherwise, he wouldn't be gearing up for his third training camp with the team.

But even with Allen Barbre being treated like a mosquito against a tractor-trailer and Aaron Rodgers taking more abuse than "Buster" from "Mythbusters" because of it to start last season, Giacomini was never an option at right tackle. For as poorly as Barbre played in his seven starts, Giacomini didn't play a single snap all season. That on the heels of a rookie season in which Giacomini's only regular-season snap from scrimmage was a game-ending kneeldown against Detroit.

Given that paper-thin resume, coach Mike McCarthy's statement on Wednesday that Giacomini will "definitely" compete with Mark Tauscher to be the starting right tackle seemed like the most preposterous of coachspeak.

Even Giacomini seemed unconvinced that he's got a real chance to unseat Tauscher, the 11th-year pro with 128 starts under his belt.

"Tausch has been here for 11 years, but what I think is going on is they're just trying to get me better," Giacomini said. "Tausch is a great player and I'm just going to try to follow his steps. So, I'm just going to keep getting better every day and work my butt off."

The enigma isn't too hard to explain. Giacomini is big, strong and athletic. He also wasn't — and maybe still isn't — a finished product.

Giacomini played tight end and offensive tackle for his first three seasons at Louisville before becoming the starting right tackle as a senior. Not surprisingly, Giacomini's rookie season was a washout. On top of that, a late-season ankle injury in 2008 required surgery that prevented Giacomini from getting a chance to replace the beleaguered Barbre in 2009.

"You've got to understand, I came off eight months where I didn't even (have) one padded practice — not one practice really — and I just jumped into training camp," Giacomini told Packer Report. "I felt pretty good in training camp. But I don't make that decision, so I've just got to work hard and try to get the defense better with the look that I can give them so we can go out and win games."

Healthy and taking advantage of the absence of T.J. Lang — the second-year player who's out after wrist surgery but also is expected to challenge Tauscher — Giacomini has been getting ample reps with the second-team offense during organized team activities.

Giacomini says he has "gained a lot more muscle memory being a tackle" and is making strides in staying low, which will improve his leverage. McCarthy pointed to Giacomini's increased footspeed.

"I think Breno is a young developing offensive lineman who really hasn't been given the opportunity of others in front of him," McCarthy said. "He's obviously here for a reason. If you look at the path of offensive linemen, especially someone making the transition from tight end to offensive tackle, it does take some time. He had some untimely injuries in the past, but he's doing very well. He's a very powerful man."

Giacomini acknowledges this is a make-or-break season, and his goal is to simply make the team. With a first-rounder used on Bryan Bulaga, who also could play right tackle, and a fifth-rounder on versatile Marshall Newhouse the Packers have added two fresh faces to the equation. It doesn't help Giacomini that he's only played right tackle while almost every other lineman on the roster can play multiple spots.

"I haven't done, to this point, (any)thing)," Giacomini said. "You know, I do think it is due to my potential and my work ethic and how I love the game. I think they kept me around for a good reason, and I'm trying to prove that somebody did something right, you know what I mean? I'm just going to keep working hard, like I've always been. That's how I got here and that's how I plan to stay here."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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