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No Bakhtiari, No Problem for Packers' Offensive Line?

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No Bakhtiari, No Problem for Packers' Offensive Line?

Nobody's more agitated to be sidelined than Green Bay Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari, who is still dealing with lingering effects to his hamstring.

Even when he is fully capable of returning to the field, he's still been absent since the Sept. 10 season opener against the Seattle Seahawks. Those live-action reps are valuable, and he's missed every single one for nearly five consecutive weeks.

"In a practice environment, you're able to have a little more control over the situation," Bakhtiari said earlier in the week. "Where in a game, you can't simulate a guy pulling back. At the end of the day, he's got a job to do and you've got a job to do ... Game time is game time. When you miss that ... You can simulate as close as you can in practice ... But, at the end of the day, those reps in a game environment are valuable."

At the end of the day, the Packers are likely preparing to enter their fifth consecutive game without Bakhtiari.

He was a limited participant every day in practice leading up to the game against the Dallas Cowboys and again every day of this week heading into Sunday's divisional tilt in Minnesota. However, the continuously evolving offensive line will have to evolve again for one more week -- or potentially two.

There's the likelihood that the Packers even sit Bakhtiari for next week's game against the New Orleans Saints, giving him the week eight bye to fully recuperate if need be.

The Packers have entered every game this season with a different combination of starting offensive linemen, and right tackle Bryan Bulaga has yet to share the field with Bakhtiari at all in 2017. That's one of the more influential reasons behind quarterback Aaron Rodgers being sacked 19 times through five games -- tied for the most in the league.

While Bakhtiari does note that he's "progressing," left guard Lane Taylor is going to have to shift back to being Rodgers' blindside protector for the third straight week. He made his first start there in the Sept. 28 game against the Chicago Bears -- an outing in which he excelled.

The Packers have helped their inexperienced tackles by sending a blocking tight end to flank either side, helping solidify pass protection in the slightest, whether it be for Taylor or guard-turned-tackle Justin McCray. They haven't needed to do it very often in the case of Taylor.

He'll be up against Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen this Sunday, arguably his most strenuous task yet. Bakthiari doesn't exactly have any concerns for his temporary replacement, who he's been providing pointers for on a weekly basis.

"I'm very proud of him, he's been able to step into a role that's not easy," Bakhtiari said of Taylor. "It's definitely a tough challenge and he's stepped up and showed off his athleticism and kind of showed his value to the team. I'm happy for him, he's earned to play. That just speaks volumes about himself, his preparation and his character."

The key moving forward is not pushing Bakhtiari back into playing sooner than he has to. In an ideal, obtainable world, he doesn't want to just see the field, but stay on it as well.


Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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

4thand1's picture

The main reason AR has been sacked 19 times IMO, is he's thrown 3 int's which he hates more than anything. He will give up a sack and live to play another down before throwing a pick. I think MM will try to run the ball, then abandon it to early and put the ball in AR's hands like he always does. Go win this one for me, Ted, and Dom. We'll wake up Dom after the game and let him know he's safe for another week.

Nick Perry's picture

UGH!!! Never thought I'd miss an O-Lineman THIS much. Taylor has done a pretty good job up to now but Griffin and Hunter are on a whole other level. Lets get through this game without getting Rodgers killed or look past the Saints and we just might be 6-1 heading into the Bye.

Qoojo's picture

Given the number of hits on Rodgers, every game this year has been a roll of the dice to see if Rodgers gets injured. Yet, here we are again with defense trending to yet another year of horrible defense.

I watched some talking head on ESPN or where ever say, "Just go all in on offense". Defense sucks year after year. TT and MM should just keep the best depth at OL and keep Rodgers protected, then no one could stop them from scoring. When I first heard it, I thought what a dumb idea, but now I have kind of come around that it is not such a bad idea.

Keep 10 OL who could all start. Keep Rodgers clean. To heck with defense, just out score everyone like the SL Rams did for a couple of years. Packers are getting a very poor return on their defensive drafting investment, which is probably more coaching driven.

Tundraboy's picture

Ugh is right. I'm more convinced than ever that the diminished CBA training regimen and lack of preseason snaps is a leading cause in why so many are hurt early in the season. It's not like they are out of shape, just not in game shape until well into the season. They are not ready for day one. Or maybe I'm just too old school.

TheVOR's picture

Make no mistake here, this team missed BAKHTIARI BIG TIME. Can't wait until he's back not he field. This is is so much better with him on the field.

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