Packers All-Pro Ruled Out for Week 15 vs Rams

Getty The Green Bay Packers won't have All-Pro tackle David Bakhtiari on Monday night against the Los Angeles Rams.

The Green Bay Packers have been dealing with injuries throughout their roster this year, but no player has had worse luck with his availability on a weekly basis than former All-Pro offensive tackle David Bakhtiari.

Prior to their Week 13 matchup against the Chicago Bears, Packers fans got some unfortunate last-minute news when the team announced that Bakhtiari had undergone an emergency appendectomy two days before the NFC North showdown.

Although the Packers had a bye week in Week 14 to try and get some of their players healthy, head coach Matt LaFleur told reporters on Saturday, December 17 that Bakhtiari would miss the team’s Monday Night Football matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. When asked about Bakhtiari’s availability beyond Week 15, LaFleur didn’t clarify when they could expect the All-Pro to be back on the field.

Rookie Zach Tom is expected to start at left tackle once again against the Rams. Tom has filled in several times for Bakhtiari this season, including a last-minute start against the Buffalo Bills earlier this year.

A Long Road Back For David Bakhtiari

It’s been a long road to get back onto the field for the veteran left tackle. However, when he’s been on the field, Bakhtiari has looked like his old self and one of the best offensive linemen in the league.

Bakhtiari suffered a torn ACL at the end of the 2020 season, keeping him out for the team’s playoff run. Although the Packers expected Bakhtiari to return at some point in 2021, he only played briefly in the team’s final regular season game, then missed their playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers.

The 31-year-old needed additional time to get his feet under him at the beginning of this season, even splitting reps at times with Yosh Nijman. Bakhtiari has also been a late scratch as his knee continued to give him problems at unexpected times.

That being said, Bakhtiari has played at a high level when healthy. According to Pro Football Focus, his overall grade of 82.1 is the eighth-best in the league among qualified offensive tackles.

Just as it looked like Bakhtiari was getting healthy for the first time in nearly two years, his appendectomy has forced him to deal with yet another setback that is keeping him off of the field.

Another Opportunity for Zach Tom

It wasn’t clear what Zach Tom’s role was going to be in Green Bay, but the rookie out of Wake Forest has done an admirable job at left tackle when called upon.

The fourth-round rookie was a versatile player for the Demon Deacons during his college career, playing both left tackle and center. Given his shorter frame at 6’4″ and 304 pounds, Tom was expected to play more of a role on the interior of Green Bay’s offensive line, but is impressive quickness has allowed him to hold his own when kicked back out to tackle.

Monday night will be another opportunity for Tom to prove that he’s an NFL-caliber tackle. He has only allowed five pressures in five games for the Packers, and if he can keep that kind of consistency against the Rams, then Bakhtiari’s absence won’t be felt as much as it could be for a team losing its biggest star on the offensive line.

Read More