Turns out 2020 had one more surprise for Packers fans and it was not a pleasant one.
Mere hours before the calendar turned to 2021, news broke that Pro Bowl left tackle David Bakhtiari suffered what is feared to be a torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the season. Earlier reports said he was limited in practice with a knee injury and the news took an ever darker turn from there.
This is a huge gut punch to a team that has legitimate Super Bowl aspirations. Bakhtiari’s presence protecting Aaron Rodgers’ blind side is critical to the quarterback’s improvisational skills. With the left tackle position on lockdown, the Packers were free to focus attention elsewhere on the line.
Now the team is being forced to shuffle their offensive line yet again and it couldn’t come at a worse time with the playoffs approaching. It’s not certain what combination they’ll go with but moving Elgton Jenkins to left tackle and placing Lucas Patrick at left guard seems to be the popular option.
On the positive side of things, Bakhtiari missed theee games early in the season and the offense still was able to get by albeit against weaker competition (wins over the Texan and 49ers and a loss to the Vikings).
While it would be foolish to declare Green Bay’s hopes of a trip to Super Bowl LV dead, optimism definitely took a hit. That said, once everyone takes a deep breath, the Packers have plenty of depth to weather the storm and offensive line coach Adam Stenavich has done a fantastic job this season.
There’s more on Bakhtiari’s injury plus Sunday could be Snacks time in our first edition of cheese curds in 2021.
Leading off with some home cooking where our Jon Meerdink looks at that line combinations the Packers can go with in Bakhtiari’s absence. Personally, I’m a fan of putting Jon Runyan in over Patrick. Patrick got destroyed his last two appearances and while starting a unseasoned rookie in the playoffs is risky, Runyan showed he was up to the task in limited action.
There’s still reason for hope Packers fans, and the depth along the offensive line is evidence enough Green Bay can overcome this.
It’s a tough ask, but Damon “Snacks” Harrison could very well see some action against the Chicago Bears on Sunday. The veteran probably won’t be asked to do too much but it will be nice to see him out there.
The Bears offense has played just well enough to sway the team into extending Mitchell Trubisky’s contract. Hopefully the defense plays well enough to win but we wouldn’t mind seeing Mitch around a few more years.
No Super Bowl prediction here but it looks like the hollandaise are behind us.