The problems Jared Allen, dome present

October, 25, 2013
10/25/13
11:15
AM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- If Green Bay Packers rookie David Bakhtiari needs a lesson in what can happen when a left tackle allows Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen to get going, he might want to watch the tape of the 2009 game at the Metrodome.

Or maybe that might scare him even more.

The Vikings sacked Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers eight times in that 2009 game at Minnesota, and Allen was responsible for 4 of them.

[+] EnlargeJared Allen
AP Photo/Genevieve RossKeeping Jared Allen away from QB Aaron Rodgers will be a tough task for the Packers' David Bakhtiari.
In the noise at the dome, things can snowball in a hurry for an offensive lineman.

“If you allow it to,” Packers offensive line coach James Campen said this week. “That’s the thing, you want to make sure you’re off on the snap and you get into a rhythm from Play 1 and keep going. Once you’re in your rhythm, then you’re fine. But it is tough.”

Rodgers has never been sacked more times than he was in that 2009 game, a 30-23 loss to the Vikings. The Packers used a fill-in left tackle, Daryn Colledge, that day because regular starter Chad Clifton was injured. Then Colledge went down and was replaced by T.J. Lang. Neither Colledge nor Lang were tackles by trade. Both play primarily guard.

While Bakhtiari is a natural tackle, this will be his first game against Allen and his first in a dome, where it often gets so loud when the visiting team has the ball that the tackles can’t hear anything the quarterback or the center says.

“Everyone has said it’s going to be loud,” Bakhtiari said. “Loud games are loud games. I think at every away game it gets to the point where you really can’t hear anything, and then from there it gets louder, but you still already can’t hear anything.”

The Packers simulate crowd noise in practice by blasting it over the speakers inside the Don Hutson Center, but even that might not reach the same decibel level compared to the dome.

“It’s different,” Campen said. “But as much as you can simulate that noise, that helps, too, because the communication is really off in practice. You just simulate it, and getting off on the snap count is a priority, but we’ve been doing our snap counts for a long time. The best way to prepare for it is to get out there, and once you get that first series done and you come back, you’re good then.”

So far, Bakhtiari has handled most challenges. After allowing two sacks to San Francisco 49ers’ Pro Bowl defensive end Aldon Smith in Week 1, the fourth-round pick from Colorado has allowed just two more sacks in the next five games combined, according to ProFootballFocus.

Life as an NFL left tackle means facing elite pass-rushers almost every week. Although Allen is 31 years old and perhaps in decline, and the Vikings have struggled to get to the quarterback -- their 12 sacks ranks 28th in the league -- Allen has still managed 4 sacks in six games.

In five home games against the Packers, Allen has combined for 9 sacks. He has registered at least one sack in every home game against the Packers.

“He’s had some success against us in the past,” Rodgers said. “He’s a great competitor. I enjoy playing against him. He gives you a lot of different challenges, especially for a young guy like David, with the many things he can do with his pass rush ability.”

Rob Demovsky

ESPN Green Bay Packers reporter

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