Bakhtiari: Got to come back to fundamentals
Green Bay Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari co-hosted Monday's Clubhouse Live, Gannett Wisconsin Media's live weekly football show. Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga was Bakhtiari's guest.
Among the topics they touched on were the Packers' struggling offense, frustration and the lack of a rushing attack. The show can be seen live at The Clubhouse Sports Pub & Grill in downtown Appleton or at clubhouselive.com.
Here are select and edited answers from the interview:
Q: The offense seemed to finally click during the fourth quarter of Sunday's loss to the Panthers. Do you think you've finally recaptured that rhythm? Or are there still plenty of issues to address and correct?
Bakhtiari: The crazy thing is we're 6-2, and we haven't even hit our stride of where we know we will be. In a way, that's really awesome and really bad at the same time. If we can be 6-2 when we're not really clicking on offense and not really clicking on defense, imagine when we are. The most important thing is — everyone wants to be the No. 1 (playoff) seed and have the best record — you want to make sure you're hitting your stride as soon as the playoffs come around. And now that we're on the back half of the season, that whole chirping of playoff talk is starting to revolve around, so that's something you're starting to think about. But the most important thing for us past that is we've got to come back to fundamentals, and we've got to win one game at a time. And that starts this week with Detroit.
Q: TV cameras caught Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Julius Peppers in a heated sideline argument during Sunday's game. And then B.J. Raji got involved and was seen shoving Clinton-Dix. Does stuff like that happen more often than we know? How often does that emotion and intensity surface on the sideline?
Bakhtiari: I think it happens a fair amount. Anytime something's not really working ... there are a lot of different personalities. There's a lot of testosterone on the sidelines. So for guys coming off the field, they're going to be somewhat upset, and that happened to be a moment that they caught (on camera). I personally think it was a little bit blown out of proportion. I believe it was only a three- or four-second altercation, and they made it seem like it was three minutes of fighting. So I don't think it was a big deal at all. ... We're trying to win a game. We're very passionate, and those players are, too. You want to be perfect, and it's very hard to be perfect in this league. And of course, tensions are going to be high.
Q: Do you think it's a situation in which the offensive struggles will go away if you can simply get that running game in gear? Or is it more complicated than that?
Bulaga: I don't know if it's that simple, but it helps a bunch. It really does. I think it'll take pressure off of, obviously, the quarterback. I heard David mention it earlier, throwing the ball 52 times a game — that puts a lot of stress on everybody. Not just the offensive line or the receivers, but also the quarterback having to make perfect throws every time. That's difficult. So if we're able to give a little more balance to our offense from the offensive line — us taking care of our jobs and doing what we need so that we can be productive on the ground and then kind of make defenses play us a little more honest than just pass-heavy, it's going to help out a bunch. There are other things that go into it, but we definitely do need to get the run game going.