Packers notebook: David Bakhtiari shines, running game falters
AUG 10, 2013 12:47a ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- It was as good a debut as Green Bay Packers rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari could have hoped for.
Stepping into the starting lineup after the season-ending injury to Bryan Bulaga, Bakhtiari played the entire first half of the Packers' preseason loss to the Arizona Cardinals and performed very well.
"I'm happy where I was, but there's room to improve," Bakhtiari said. "I didn't feel overwhelmed; that's probably the best way to put it."
Only 21 years old, Bakhtiari has an important challenge on his hands this season of protecting the blind side of franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Though Rodgers only played one series on Friday night, Bakhtiari made a good first impression on him.
"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."
A game like this certainly isn't as big as what Bakhtiari will soon deal with in the regular season, but he handled the moment well.
"To be honest, I think I probably had more jitters in college than I did for this game," Bakhtiari said. "I felt good out there, so I'm going to continue to keep that kind of mindset going forward."
Running game falters: With Eddie Lacy and DuJuan Harris both out with injuries, there was a significant opportunity for the rest of the running backs to climb up the depth chart.
"We just couldn't run the ball effectively," Rodgers said.
Starks was the starter, but the team's most experienced rusher had just 38 yards on 12 attempts (3.2 average). Franklin was second into the game, but his six carries for 14 yards (2.3 average) didn't do much. Green finished with seven rushes for 16 yards (2.3 average).
Bad night for Davon House: No Tramon Williams and Casey Hayward gave House a chance to start at outside cornerback in Friday night's game. However, House struggled in his increased role.
Cardinals receiver Andre Robert got a step on House deep along the right sideline for a 38-yard touchdown from quarterback Carson Palmer. House had decent coverage on the play, but the result didn't look good for him.
On Arizona's next drive, House was beat by Charles Hawkins for a long gain on a third-down play.
House, who is healthy after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, has been fairly good in recent training camp practices. But, when Williams and Hayward recover from their injuries, House won't be able to look back positively on this game as he likely then slides two spots back on the depth chart.
D.J. Williams inconsistent: It was a great start to the night for Williams, making an impressive diving catch on a pass from Graham Harrell on the second drive of the game. Things fell apart for him after that, though, dropping two passes.
Tyrone Walker steps up: In a game that had a lot of negatives for the Packers, Walker was at his best. The undrafted wide receiver out of Illinois State continued what he's been doing in training camp practices, catching nearly every ball in his area.
Walker led Green Bay with five receptions for 41 yards, which caught the eye of coach Mike McCarthy.
"Tyrone Walker obviously had a productive night with his performance and productivity," McCarthy said. "He's an excellent example of that whole wide receiver group. They've gone out competitively every day and performed, and I thought he definitely took a step tonight."
Follow Paul Imig on Twitter