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Packers LT David Bakhtiari Earns Praise for His Work Against Vikings' Jared Allen

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Packers LT David Bakhtiari Earns Praise for His Work Against Vikings' Jared Allen

There's not a lot of lot of elite players suiting up for the Minnesota Vikings, as evidenced by their one win on the season.

So when you play the Vikings, game plans revolve around the few top-notch players they do have.

On defense, you do everything in your power to stuff running back Adrian Peterson, as the Packers did Sunday evening, limiting him to a relatively harmless 60 yards on 13 carries.

And on offense, you focus on stopping pass-rush extraordinaire Jared Allen.

Lining up across from Allen for much of the Packers 44-31 win over the Vikings was rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari, who received praise from his coaches and teammates for helping to stonewall the fearsome Minnesota defensive end.

"David's playing very well," said Packers head coach Mike McCarthy. "We're obviously very conscious of Jared Allen, and I think Jared's having an excellent year. So we're very conscious how we set the run game and our protections. But David did a heck of a job."

Allen came into Sunday's matchup with 4.5 sacks on the season, preparing for a battle of No. 69 in purple and white going up against No. 69 in green and gold. But not only did Bakhtiari hold him without a sack Sunday night, Allen didn't make so much as a single tackle either.

The fourth round draft choice of the Packers deserves credit for rendering the Vikings' five-time Pro Bowler almost powerless, a remarkable achievement considering Allen has 121.5 career sacks and has notched at least 11 in each of the past six seasons.

Bakhtiari got occasional help from running backs chipping on Allen as well as help from the left guard, but in teaming up with Josh Sitton, the Packers are also having more success running to the left side of the field more than they've had in years.

"I tell you, our left side with Josh Sitton having another great year and David's just getting better and better each week, I just can't say enough for a young man to play with the consistency with he's played right out of the gate here in his rookie season," said McCarthy.

The Packers ran for 182 rushing yards, on their way to more than doubling the time of possession that of Vikings, 40:54 compared to 19:56.

As nice as the rejuvenated ground game has been in Green Bay, protecting the backside of Aaron Rodgers is priority No. 1, and Bakhtiari has proved capable of doing so against the Vikings and for most of the season.

Given that the Packers made a $110 million investment during the offseason in a contract extension given to Rodgers, keeping him upright has been imperative. For as many injuries as the Packers have weathered, losing their quarterback could be a death knell.

"One guy who's been steady all year long and hasn't gotten a lot of credit is David Bakhtiari," said Rodgers after the game, unsolicited. "He's been solid at left tackle, playing against one of the premiere guys in the league, pass rusher. And I thought David did a nice job."

As a mid-round selection, there weren't a lot of high expectations for Bakhtiari, but after Bryan Bulaga went down in training camp with a knee injury, the rookie offensive lineman has more than stepped up to the challenge.

The season hasn't been perfect for Bakhtiari––he's had his fair share of penalties and there's been a few sacks allowed along the way. But he's also responded to adversity.

Bakhtiari seems to have a short memory, not dwelling on the negative, and not letting the pressure snowball like Marshall Newhouse seemed to do the past two years at left tackle.

He appears to be getting better each week since the Week 3 loss at the Cincinnati Bengals when Rodgers was constantly pressured. Perhaps not coicidently, the Packers have been on a four-game win streak since that game.

So when Bakhtiari did the equivalent of pitching a shutout in a victory at the Metrodome, his stock is trending upward. At least if the opinions from the face of the franchise and the team's head coach mean anything.

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (28) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Morgan Mundane's picture

Great job for him. He was really thrown into this position and for the most part has done superb work.
I think Allen has lost a step, having to watch the team each week here in Minny, but that doesn't detract from Batiaris play. He did his job and then some.

jack in jersey city's picture

as far as i'm concerned, he's one of the steals of the 2013 NFL draft! congrats to TT for finding and drafting him

Derek in CO's picture

Bakhtiari to me looks like the real deal. Another good looking TT draft pick, so far anyway. Now we just have to figure out the right side.......

I bleed Green More's picture

Backattack is the real deal, he made Jared look like a statue out there. I have never seen Allen controlled as he was in this game.

Calabasa's picture

FIDO is his motto, right? "F it and drive on."

Michael from Winnipeg's picture

I'd like to know the last time Allen didnt record a tackle/sack in a game. That would really put some extra significance on Bakhtiari's performance.

Mike's picture

Not sure when the last time it happened was but pretty sure Clifton did it to Allen the opening game of 2008, which was Aaron's first start at QB and Allen's first game as a Viking

stormin's picture

1.5 sec before passes are out help alittle also

Mojo's picture

Good point. I've noticed Rodgers getting out the ball, on average, much quicker this year. That certainly helps the o-line's pass blocking. There are still times Rodgers holds the ball a long time - but not as much as in the past.

Plus, a good run game and game planning doesn't allow a d-line to just tee-off on the pass rush as much.

Still, Bakh has exceeded expectations so far. Sitton, Lang and Bakh all taken in the fourth. Not bad TT, not bad.

Stroh's picture

And a running game slows the pass rush. There are a few aspects that ard making Bshktiari look really good. He's playing well but the offense is working for him too.

Longshanks's picture

lol.. Stroh, it's getting harder and harder by the week to convince the masses here that Bakhtiari is on the bench next season as you are hoping.

P.S. You get a photo a cactus yet? lol

Longshanks

primetime's picture

long term I wonder if Bulaga returns at right tackle or Bakthari moves to right guard/tackle ?

Evan's picture

A good problem to have next season (but I don't think there is anyway they move him inside).

Irish_Cheesehead's picture

Bakhtiari is a stud. Our LT for the next decade. Bulaga back to RT.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Agreed.

Tundraboy's picture

Agree Agreed

Longshanks's picture

Another excellent article Brian!! Love reading your columns.

Though some people are catching some flak here for having difficulties in spelling his name, nothing is more difficult than blocking the top pass rushers in the NFL and Bakhtiari is looking so far to be the best left tackle in this year's draft.

Ted Thompson does it yet again!! Can this guy get any better for christ sakes!! Wow!! This draft is unbelievable!! Impact rookie players all over the place and Bakh is one of his best picks. Without his abilities, Rodgers would be up sheet creek.

He is our franchise left tackle!!

Longshanks

PackersRS's picture

The OL is getting better and better has a lot to do with Bakhtiari's play. You no longer have to slide protection to his side every singlle play.

Oh, side not, might want to check the font size on some of the sentences on the article, Brian.

Icebowler's picture

Let's keep picking our OL's in the forth round every year.

Justin's picture

It's way early, but the 2013 draft class could be a good one for the Packers.

Otto's picture

I haven't heard or read it anywhere, but I it looked to me like EDS, Lang and Sitton owned that game. The were getting the second level on their run blocks. They stoned the middle pass rush. They just looked great. It looked to me like Rodgers scrambles were successful because those 3 guys held their blocks so long.

Bahktiari deserves all the credit he gets. But kudos to the middle of that line.

Tundraboy's picture

Agree

Big Al's picture

The offensive line i would like to see next year is
Tackles
Bakhtiari
Bulaga
Sherrod

Guards
Sitton
Lang
Barclay

Centre
EDS
S O Else (Draft)

Evan's picture

Tretter at G/C

4thand1's picture

I don't know what the Packers are paying their scouts, but I think a nice bonus is due. What a complete turn around as a team identity. No one is calling this team soft, or a finesse team anymore. It really is a great job in coaching and GM management. Looks a 5th straight playoff run. We as Packer fans should be thankful and appreciate what were witnessing.

hump's picture

love bahktiari,and yes he will start for us for a long time. but my bet is that Sherrod will be left tackle of the future if he regains full health. he is absolute prototype left tackle. bahktiari gets by on left side because of amazing feet,but sherrod at full strength is truly capable of dominating.and oh yeah,throw bulaga in the mix,good problem to have. kudos Mr.Thompson!!

Xuyee's picture

He's starting every game at the 2nd most important offensive position and is playing at a high level. Is there any other rookie doing that?

He needs to be in the conversation for Offensive Rookie of the Year. While Tyler Eifert and Gio Bernard fight for snaps, Bakh plays every down and shuts down elite pass rushers.

Stroh's picture

Lacy will be the offensive ROTY. Bahktiari is playing well, but Lacy is the trendsetter. He's probably going to get his 1000 yds and if he does I would guess he'll be the choice. Gio is doing very well too, but IMO Lacy wins ROTY fairly easily. Certainly isn't going to be Bahktiari.

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