The age old saying, “if you don’t hear an offensive lineman’s named called, he is doing a good job,” still holds true today.
All throughout OTA’s and mini-camps and training camp, the least heard name on offense for the Green Bay Packers has been left tackle David Bakhtiari.
We all know the story from a year ago … fourth round pick from a losing program at the University of Colorado, and standing 6-4, weighing 300 pounds, was considered small for left tackles by NFL standards.
Despite all of this, Bakhtiari was thrust into the starting lineup when Bryan Bulaga went down with a season-ending injury during the preseason, and the rest is history … Bakhtiari started all 16 regular season games plus the Packers only playoff game, and fared pretty well through it all.
This season his name is barely mentioned. He has added 10 pounds of muscle, now weighs 310, which is still a little light for a left tackle, but with his quickness, toughness and smarts, he is evolving into one of those Ken Ruetgers or Chad Clifton types, where you expect him to man that position for the next 10 years.
The Packers will not only be relying on their second year left tackle to protect the quarterback’s blind side, but will also be expecting his veteran line mates to continue to evolve as a unit.
Veterans T.J Lang and Josh Sitton form an elite guard tandem and the returning Bulaga looks as good as or better than ever planted at right tackle.
Collectively they all seem to be unified, they all seem stronger, stouter and their continued aggressive style is carrying over from last season. In the middle of it all, of course, is rookie Corey Linsley, who stands 6-3, 301 pounds, is a fifth round pick from The Ohio State University, a student of football under Urban Meyers for two full seasons.
He is a true center, and was the second strongest man at the combine, completing 36 lifts on the bench press at 225 pounds.
Like Bakhtiari, Linsley is being thrust into the starting lineup due to an injury J.C. Tretter sustained during training camp. It remains to be seen what the future holds if Linsley remains the starter when Tretter returns.
My guess is Linsley will grab this opportunity and run with it and not give it back. He is smart, even keeled, and strong as an ox. Linsley looks like he is ready to go, as does the rest of the offensive line.
If this unit, with Lane Tayloy (G), Derek Sherrod (T) and Tretter (C) as backups, can start dominating games – which they believe they can – it will go a long way in the success of possibly another super season.
Tags: Green Bay Packers