Matt LaFleur “Hopeful” David Bakhtiari will Practice for Packers this Week

Green Bay Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari participates in organized team activities Wednesday, June 2, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis.Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-WisconsinApc Packersota 0602210678djp
Green Bay Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari participates in organized team activities Wednesday, June 2, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis.Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-WisconsinApc Packersota 0602210678djp /

Somehow, someway, the Green Bay Packers offensive line unit continues to find a way despite dealing with numerous injuries. They entered Sunday’s contest with Chicago ranked seventh in ESPN’s pass-block win rate metric and eighth in the run-blocking category.

Although this group has to be game-planned for with quick passes and tight end chips, among other tactics, for the most part, the run game has been effective, and Rodgers has had the time he’s needed.

Unfortunately, already down three of their five preferred starters, the Green Bay Packers would suffer another injury along the offensive line on Sunday, losing Billy Turner with a knee injury–although at this time, we do not know the severity.

As they’ve done all season, it was next man up with Dennis Kelly taking over at right tackle, and the Packers offensive line as a whole was credited with only four pressures given up, according to PFF ($$), and they averaged 5.0 yards per rush on the ground.

But moving forward and when the playoffs arrive, Green Bay will be up against much better defensive fronts than this Bears unit that didn’t have Akiem Hicks or Khalil Mack and ranks 29th in quarterback pressure rate.

So with that, I posed this question in an article, how many more injuries can this Packers offensive line sustain before they start to hinder this offense?

Up to this point, they’ve managed, but we will have to wait and see what that answer is moving forward. With that said, we did receive some potentially very good news about David Bakhtiari, in that he could be back sooner than later. Following the game, Matt LaFleur told reporters that he is “hopeful” that the Packers will have him back at practice this week.

After beginning the season on the PUP list, Bakhtiari was activated and placed on the 53-man roster on November 10th. After participating in one practice in a limited fashion, Bakhtiari was again shut down. We would then learn that he underwent a “clean-up” on his surgically repaired knee on November 23rd–however, the Packers remained optimistic throughout the process that he would be back at some point this season.

While that’s promising that LaFleur is “hopeful,” it’s also far from a guarantee either. Not to mention that just because Bakhtiari is back at practice, that doesn’t mean he is suiting up this coming Sunday–chances are there is going to be a ramp-up period for him as he works his way back to playing shape.

"“Him being out there from what I’ve seen of him in practice so far, there’s flashes where he looks great,” said OL coach Adam Stenavich via Sports Illustrated. “It’s just going to be a matter of can he sustain that for a game? That’s going to be the hardest thing because he didn’t have camp, he didn’t have anything built up. Practices are limited right now. So, that’s going to be his biggest challenge is getting to a place where he can sustain that performance for an entire game. That’s part of what we evaluate right now and that’s probably going to be probably the biggest question.”"

Prior to sustaining his ACL injury last season, the five-time All-Pro was having another fantastic season, allowing only one sack and nine pressures through 16 games. Bakhtiari was also PFF’s second-highest graded offensive tackle that season as well. There will certainly be some added freedom that this offense will gain when Matt LaFleur and Aaron Rodgers don’t really have to account for the left tackle position.

While we are all chomping at the bit to get Bakhtiari back in the mix — especially as the injuries continue to pile up — it’s important to keep in mind that he is still just over 11 months removed from the original injury. The long-term health of Bakhtiari’s knee takes precedent, and after that, the goal is making sure that he is 100 percent for the playoffs and not rushing him back for a Week 15 regular-season game.

The Green Bay Packers will take the practice field on Wednesday as they prepare for Baltimore. Hopefully, Bakhtiari is back out there, but even if he is, I wouldn’t expect to see him on the field this Sunday. For now, and as they’ve done all season, Green Bay will have to find a way to win with the five offensive linemen that they have.