Yes, the 2020 season ended in disappointing fashion.
If just one play or one call or one playcall would have been different, the Packers could have been in the Super Bowl. Based on the disarray the Chiefs were in from injuries and off-the-field issues, the Packers may very well have won.
But it didn’t happen.
There’s looming salary cap issues in 2021 and some key players surely won’t be back, but there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic for the 2021 season and we’ll be counting them throughout the offseason.
Today we look at Reason #4: David Bakhtiari.
The Packers have the reigning MVP at the most most important position in the game (and that’s a reason for optimism, too).
The second most important position on the offense is left tackle.
Luckily for the Packers, they have the best player in the game there, too: All Pro Left Tackle David Bakhtiari.
In games that Bakhtiari started and finished this year, the Packers never allowed more than 12 pressures.
When he was gone, his absences was noted, particularly against the Buccaneers, who have the best front 7 in the league.
When Bakhtiari left the game in Week 6 against the Buccaneers, the Tampa defense took over, forcing 22 pressures. That was 10 more pressures than they allowed in any other game in the regular season. When Bakhtiari missed the NFC Championship Game, the dominant Bucs D took over again, forcing 22 pressures.
In the Super Bowl, Tampa rendered Patrick Mahomes (running for his life behind a decimated line) completely useless by forcing an absolutely ludicrous 44 pressures.
The game has evolved, but it is still won and lost in the trenches. Keeping the quarterback protected is critical to winning. No position is more important to that mission than left tackle and no left tackle does it better than David Bakhtiariri.
DBak would have likely been the difference between a narrow loss in the NFCCG and winning the Super Bowl.
He has a long road of recovery ahead of him to come back from a torn ACL, but medical advances have made things easier than ever and he should be back before the playoffs.
The Packers will almost surely be there and his presence will be welcome boost for the final leg of their Super Bowl run.
Imagine battling through the whole season and then adding the best offensive linemen in the game at the end!
The Packers will figure out a way to get through early games without him, but DBak will be back and that’s a reason for optimism in 2021.
We’ll be updating our list of Reasons For Optimism In 2021 throughout the offseason, so be sure to check back.
Also, follow our ongoing draft and free agency at Draft Central 2021.
Start shallow, then get deep into understanding draft strategy with our draft book (rated a #1 New Release): A Fan’s Guide To Understanding The NFL Draft: Strategies, Tactics, And Case Studies For Building A Professional Football Team
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