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By Brien O’Donal
Yesterday’s signing of Breno Giacomini by the Texans was their first serious move to address the offensive line in free agency. He was brought in to compete for the right tackle position with 2017 4th round pick Julie’n Davenport and last year’s replacement for Derek Newton, Chris Clark. Anyone who watched the Texans last year could see that that position was a major weakness. Texans’ fans would have loved it if they made more of an effort to address it earlier in the offseason, but they didn’t. Now they’ve brought in a veteran player with starting experience to compete and it may not be enough.
Giacomini is just another guy. Even if he wins the job it won’t be a significant upgrade. The best thing to hope for is that the recently drafted Davenport plays well above his 4th round selection like one of my favorite offensive linemen, David Bakhtiari. He too was a 4th round selection and has gone on to start every game he has played in for the Packers. That scenario is not likely, which is probably the reason Giacomini was brought in. He has plenty of starting experience over the last 6 seasons, split between the Seahawks and the Jets. However; he comes into town losing most of 2016 to a back injury that required surgery. He also lost part of his 2013 season to knee surgery; although he returned from that to start on an offensive line in Seattle that won the Super Bowl.
If right tackle is the one most known for assisting in the running game, Giacomini has some good years on his resume. His years with Seattle were well known for running the football and in his first two years with the Jets they were ranked 3rd and 10th in rushing. The Texans will most likely lean heavily on the run game in 2017 so bringing in a guy with that history looks like a smart move. And maybe it is. But if he was really that good why did both Seattle and New York let him walk after only short stints? I would lean toward saying they felt confident he was not a linchpin in their running game. Maybe Seattle just couldn’t afford him because of their other stars, and maybe the Jets just didn’t want the injury history. Either way, he wasn’t a player necessary enough to keep around.
I like that the Texans are bringing in more competition for a position of need. If Giacomini was the solid right tackle that made those top rushing attacks click and he is back to good health, then the Texans have made a great acquisition. If he was not the linchpin or is not fully healthy then he is just depth. Either way, right now the move looks good. I won’t get too excited though. If he really is a great player then why did he last this long in free agency? I will never say I know more than the scouts who are paid to evaluate players so I can only go by what I know about demand in the NFL. Key players don’t sit around without a team for this long. Key players don’t bounce around to different teams after every three year contract expires.
This move may look good but it is still too late. There were other tackles available early on that would have done wonders for this team. I don’t know what happened that prevented one of them from signing in Houston but the need was obvious and it looks like the Texans sat on their hands waiting for Romo. Now they have Giacomini as a consolation prize. He is just a guy at this point. He will have to compete for the starting job and after his injuries may only be slightly better than what was at that position last year. That isn’t good news for the offense. The offseason has slowed down now so this is the biggest news for the Texans right now (unless you wanted me to write about J.J. Watt’s charity softball game). There are still a few months until training camp and maybe something else exciting happens, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.