Green Bay Packers star left tackle David Bakhtiari suffered a torn ACL in late December 2020. He returned to the field in a Week 18 loss to the Detroit Lions, although he played fewer than 30 snaps in that game. Is Bakhtiari playing for Green Bay against the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional Round, and how would he affect this game?
Update 01/22/22: LT David Bakhtiari is officially inactive for the Green Bay Packers tonight against the 49ers. For the entire list of inactives, make sure to check out our 49ers vs. Packers Injury Report.
Will Bakhtiari play vs. the 49ers this week?
Bakhtiari tore his ACL in Decemeber of 2020. He missed nearly the entire 2021 season, returning for 27 snaps in the Week 18 matchup.
Bakhtiari was given an extra week off, as the Packers reaped the benefits from having the first-round bye. He didn’t practice on Tuesday before getting in a limited session in pads on Wednesday. Bakhtiari then recorded a DNP on Thursday.
Generally, it’s never a good thing when players are downgraded later in the week, but that likely doesn’t matter for Bakhtiari. Green Bay was giving him a rest or recovery day after practicing on Wednesday.
The starting left tackle is listed as questionable for the game against San Francisco, but he’s expected to play full snaps for the Packers this weekend.
Who would start in his absence?
The Packers have dealt with several injuries to their offensive linemen throughout the season. In a normal situation, Elgton Jenkins would take over for Bakhtiari if he were forced to miss this game. Jenkins was lost for the season in November, though, forcing Green Bay to shift their players around more.
Yosh Nijman would be the next man up at left tackle in that situation. They could potentially use Billy Turner, who practiced in full throughout the week, as Aaron Rodgers’ blindside protection. But Nijman would be the most likely option.
How would Bakhtiari’s absence affect the Packers’ offense?
Bakhtiari is arguably the best left tackle in the NFL. It’s unknown if he’ll return to that level after a torn ACL, but that was how good he was before the injury.
Nijman would be an immediate downgrade in Green Bay’s passing offense. They would likely opt to use more of Marcedes Lewis, who’s graded out as one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL. Keep in mind, this would limit what the Packers can do offensively, though.
The bigger issue is Nijman’s run blocking. He struggles in that aspect, and Green Bay would certainly need the added help from Lewis in this situation.
Bakhtiari returning will be an immediate upgrade to the Packers’ offense as a whole. He’s one of the best pass and run blocking tackles in the NFL. Bakhtiari is a key piece in the offense, and all of the skill players will benefit from him starting this weekend.