For the past few seasons Green Bay Packers left tackle, David Bakhtiari has been one of the NFL’s best offensive lineman. Bakhtiari led the Packers offensive line to an incredible season as they ranked fifth in run blocking and tenth in pass protection as the team finished 13-3 and reached the NFC Championship. Even though Bakhtiari was selected to the Pro Bowl and was named to the All-Pro second team discussed his 12 penalties.
“If I had to reflect on my tale of two seasons, the false starts are just unacceptable and that comes down to thinking more about the concepts and being new to things going on. Then, when it comes to holding going into my eighth season, holding is very arbitrary, it depends on the ref and how they are feeling that day. For myself, I always say I’m going to block the way that I block.”
The Packers offensive line should still be one of the best in the league, but they do lose a big part of it as right tackle Bryan Bulaga departed in free agency to the Los Angeles Chargers on a three-year $30 million deal. The Packers got Bulaga’s replacement as they signed former Detroit Lion, Rick Wagner. The former Wisconsin Badger signed a two-year, $11 million deal. There is a little connection between Bakhtiari and Wagner as they both were in the 2013 draft class.
“He was a sweetheart when I met him back in 2013. He’s always more on the soft-spoken, sweet side, but of course, his game reflects differently as I think he lets out most of that aggression and anger in the game.”
The brightest spot on the offensive line last year came from rookie left guard Elgton Jenkins. The Mississippi State product allowed zero sacks and one quarterback hit, which was the fewest in the NFL. It seems impossible to do better than that, but Bakhtiari believes there’s more to come from Jenkins in his second year.
“He’s very naturally gifted. I think a thing that separates him is his instincts as a football player. I’m excited since year two is your biggest jump and he has a chance to make a big jump in his career both on the individual side and as a team. It will propel our line to another level of dominance where I expect us to have.”
It’s a big year for the 28-year-old as he enters his last year of his four-year, $48 million contracts signed back in 2016. Nothing has been discussed so far on a new contract for Bakhtiari, but he appreciated the media for asking.
“As far as the season goes, yeah, I’m open to anything, but at the end of the day I get paid to play left tackle and I’m under contract for another season and that’s what I’m focused on. Whatever the organization decided what they want to do moving forward with me, we can have that conversation when it’s there.”
Bakhtiari knows it’s a business in the National Football League. He saw that when the Packers selected Utah State quarterback, Jordan Love, in the first round even though they have Aaron Rodgers. Many fans and former players have opinions on the pick, but Bakhtiari does not have one.
“Indifferent. I try not to let my emotions get the best of me in a work setting. I was more shocked that they traded up, but how I feel does not matter because I am not in charge of building the roster. My job is to protect the quarterback.”
Bakhtiari knows Rodgers has a lot left and can expect him to have a big 2020 season. Last year Bakhtiari thought the same as he compared Rodgers to John Wick. There’s no comparison this year, but the league should still watch out.
“We were out running around today on our conditioning day and the guy still got his wheels. We still compete. I know that fire still burns in him deep. He still will in his way make sure that he’ll still try to win in every facet.”