The Green Bay Packers suffered a big blow on Thursday as left tackle David Bakhtiari suffered a knee injury in practice that’ll end his season.
Bakhtiari may miss time next season as well, as his injury is believed to keep him sidelined for multiple months.
Packers news: David Bakhtiari reportedly tears ACL in practice
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the awful news about Bakhtiari’s health situation, but also mentioned a few potential replacement options for the 29-year-old veteran:
Bakhtiari was named to his third Pro Bowl this year and in 2018 was voted a first-team All-Pro, which means he’s the very best in the NFL at his position.
With the No. 1 seed in the NFC on the line entering Sunday’s game against the division rival Chicago Bears, Green Bay will have to make do without Bakhtiari to replace superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ blind side against Khalil Mack and Co.
Packers news: Green Bay’s Super Bowl outlook after David Bakhtiari injury
Looking at the bigger picture of the Packers’ postseason, Bakhtiari’s absence will really loom large.
According to Pro Football Focus’ player grades, Bakhtiari ranks as the top pass protector at offensive tackle in the entire NFL. Additionally, his 86.7 run blocking grade ranks in the top five among all qualifiers.
Although Rodgers can extend the play with his feet and make throws few players in league history can execute, he’ll likely be under more duress in the playoffs than he’d been bargaining for.
The bigger concern is how the offensive line chemistry will be impacted by Bakhtiari being out. As Rapoport alluded to, Elgton Jenkins is capable of sliding over to left tackle, and has experience playing all five positions on the offensive line in the NFL. That’s a rare commodity for any team to have.
With Jenkins being such a versatile, movable player and Rodgers operating the offense at an MVP level in his second season under coach Matt LaFleur, there should be enough continuity in place to keep Green Bay in Super Bowl contention. Having said that, look for the offense to try establishing the run more than usual with Aaron Jones and rising rookie AJ Dillon leading the charge.