Packers' Bakhtiari may be protector Rodgers needed

The SportsXchange

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- If the Green Bay Packers were looking for the silver lining in a 17-0 preseason loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Friday, all they had to do was look at quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

He was still standing.

The All-Pro quarterback completed only three of five passes for 62 yards, but the best statistic was that he was not sacked, not even touched, in large part because of rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari.

It appears Bakhtiari may be a good replacement for Bryan Bulaga, who is out for the season after tearing an ACL last week.

Bakhtiari, a fourth-round draft pick out of Colorado, looked the part of a reliable left tackle as he played the full first half.

"I didn't get touched tonight," Rodgers said. "We had a few dropbacks, so I'm sure he was pretty good over there. It's nice when you're not worried about him, and tonight I wasn't worried about him. He's a confident kid. I think he's got a bright future for us. For him, it's about experience and going against good pass rushers, and next week will be a good challenge with those (defensive) guys they have in St. Louis."

The Packers' next game is Aug. 17 against the St. Louis Rams.

"He was out there probably 100 percent with his assignments," left guard Josh Sitton said of Bakhtiari's performance. "He seemed to be just fine. I'm positive that he can go out there and do it all year."

It has been a fast ascent for Bakhtiari. In a matter of days, Bakhtiari went from being thrown in the mix for contending for the starting job at right tackle to all but being handed the starting job at left tackle as a rookie.

The season-ending torn ACL by Bulaga in the intrasquad scrimmage at Lambeau Field on Aug. 3 opened the door. And the rookie accepted the challenge.

What the 6-foot-4, 300-pound Bakhtiari lacks in massive size for the critical position to protect Rodgers' back side, he makes up for with athleticism, nimble feet and shrewd attention to detail.

--Team correspondents for The Sports Xchange contributed material for this story.
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