Barbre, Giacomini Battle for RT Job
Next game: Saturday, August 22nd vs. Buffalo
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Breno Giacomini and Allen Barbre will split first-team snaps at right tackle for the Green Bay Packers, coach Mike McCarthy said Monday.
The Packers are looking for a replacement for longtime starter Mark Tauscher, an unrestricted free agent coming off a season-ending knee injury who Green Bay did not re-sign.
Giacomini and Barbre shared time in practice Monday and will do so the rest of the week, McCarthy said.
"I think it's going to be a very good competition as we move forward here in the next couple weeks," McCarthy said.
Giacomini struggled as a rookie in training camp last year, but the coaching staff was pleased with his progress during the season before an ankle injury led to Feb. 11 surgery. His ankle has not completely healed, but he said it's not a factor for him now.
Giacomini acknowledged he didn't play well during the first week or so of camp after sitting out organized team activity practices and the mandatory minicamp in late June, but he seemed to turn a corner in Saturday night's 17-0 over Cleaveland in the Packers' preseason opener.
"That first week, I definitely felt rusty," said Giacomini, a fifth-round pick last year who was inactive for all but two games last season and did not play from scrimmage. "It's coming back a little slower than I thought it would, but it's definitely coming back."
Barbre seemed disappointed that he had failed to lock up the starting spot while Giacomini was struggling.
Still, he said, "There's always things I need to work on and improve. I'm just trying to compete, take care of what I can do."
RAJI IN ACTION: Top draft pick B.J. Raji, who signed a five-year, $28.5 million contract Friday to end a two-week holdout, practiced for the first time and could be ready to play Saturday night against Buffalo.
"I thought he got off to a good start today," McCarthy said.
Raji started working with the No. 2 defense at left end and did see some reps with the No. 1 unit.
McCarthy said that for the rest of the week, Raji would likely get three to four snaps in a typical 10-play team period in hopes of getting him ready for the Bills.
"We'll see how things go for Saturday," Raji said. "I'm just happy to be out there and be back to it. It's been awhile. It's just (a matter of) getting back to the speed of things. That's something you can't really simulate while you're working by yourself."
NOTES: Defensive end Justin Harrell, who has been sidelined with more back problems after undergoing two surgeries that kept him out most of last season, said he's concerned that his latest injury might threaten his career. Harrell might need another surgery to correct the problem, which is more severe than the back spasms McCarthy initially reported. ... No. 3 receiver James Jones did not practice because of a hamstring injury suffered against the Browns. McCarthy said Jones is "day-to-day." ... Rookie linebacker Brad Jones (back), the team's seventh-round pick, was activated off the physically unable to perform list. ... Right outside linebackers Clay Matthews (hamstring) and Jeremy Thompson (stinger) both remained sidelined, and McCarthy said they are questionable for Saturday. ... Defensive end Johnny Jolly (ankle) was back on the sidelines after playing against the Browns but said he will practice Tuesday. ... Cornerback Pat Lee (back) remains sidelined.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)