The Packer’s are typically one of the youngest teams in the league, and that is no accident. It is firmly based on their draft and develop strategy. This ties in closely with their cap strategy of paying premium dollars to lock up their stars and build the surrounding cast with team members playing out their cap friendly rookie and first year contracts.
This strategy does have a price, and that is the cost associated with the growing pains of playing young, inexperienced players, particularly early in the season.
This week David Bakhtiari produced a perfect demonstration of how expensive those early growing pains can be. On 4th and 5 with 1:25 remaining and the game on the line, Bakhtiari was badly beaten when he made an extremely poor attempt at a cut block. It is not an exaggeration to say that the only thing he made contact with, in his attempt to cut block Michael Johnson of the Bengals, was the artificial turf. That was until he tried to use a leg whip to trip Johnson, but that also came up short. The result was that Johnson easily blocked Aaron Rodgers pass attempt and the rest is history.
I have been impressed with Bakhtiari so far this season, and overall he has been a pleasant surprise, but nothing comes for free in the NFL and starting a rookie left tackle is no exception. With only 16 regular season games this was a painful and expensive lesson. We can only hope we will see a return on this costly investment come December and January.
- The Road Ahead Won’t Get Any Easier for David Bakhtiari (lombardiave.com)
- Packers rookie David Bakhtiari holding up under fire (jsonline.com)