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5 Guys that Have to be Good: Kyle Murphy

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5 Guys that Have to be Good: Kyle Murphy

5 guys that have to be good is a series that I've been running for a number of years.  It focuses on five Packers players that need to have good seasons for Green Bay to return to Super Bowl glory.  You won't see Aaron Rodgers or even Jordy Nelson on this list.  It's not a list of obvious guys that make a ton of money that have to play well for the team to succeed.  These are "X" Factors, like Desmond Bishop and Bryan Bulaga in 2010 that could mean another run at the Super Bowl.

Stay tuned to PackersTalk.com and of course CHTV the next few Fridays and Mondays for the rest of this series.

5 guys that have to be good has always been a little outside the box, and the Kyle Murphy selection is no different.  It entails a lot of projection.  First of all, Murphy's not even a dead lock to make the team.  It's unlikely that he doesn't, but he's certailny not a lock.  Green Bay could choose to keep just eight offensive linemen.  The starting five and Jason Spriggs are guarantees.

Spriggs is actually the reason that Murphy is so important.  Spriggs is the high upside tackle prospect with loads of length and athleticism.  He will be the main option should anything happen to David Bakhtiari or Bryan Bulaga.  Spriggs is a natural tackle.  There's a chance, though that Spriggs is the team's top backup at all four non-center positions.  

I don't really love that.  Spriggs is so tall and thin.  He has that classic power forward body type that works for a lot of the league's best tackles.  Murphy is shorter and stockier.  He profiles more as the tackle converted to a good professional interior offensive lineman that Ted Thompson has become very good at drafting after a slow start.  TJ Lang, Josh Sitton, and JC Tretter were all college tackle converts.  

The reality is that Green Bay is currently very thin on the interior of the offensive line.  There are certainly options, but none of them have a ton of experience.  Lucas Patrick is a nice underafted prospect with a similar ceiling to Lane Taylor.  Don Barclay has a ton of experience, but a ton of bad reps on film.  Can Barclay be better on the interior? Who knows.  Murphy is the one that fits Green Bay's archetype.

If something happened to Linsley (and it has), the backup would likely have to be Barclay, based on knowledge of the playbook and practice reps.  Guard, though is a different story.  You can pretty easily cross train guards and tackles.  If something happened to Jahri Evans or Lane Taylor and Kyle Murphy could slide in, it would be important to maintain Spriggs' ability to be the swing tackle.  

Murphy is also the most talented long term successor to TJ Lang at the right guard position. Jahri Evans is no longer a very effective run blocker, but his ability to pass block makes him an acceptable option for 2017.  2018 is likely going to be a different story.  Evans is already on a one year deal and will be 34 years old by the time the 2018 season would start.  He's not the type of player Thompson is likely to keep around.  

Murphy needs to take a decisive step forward to be the backup guard in 2017 and claim a starting position next season.  Kyle Murphy has to be good.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (7) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

They have their work cut out for them. Work hard young men we need you on the line.

Since '61's picture

Ross - If, as you accurately point out, Murphy doesn't even make the team, what is the point of him being good? Secondly, assuming that he does make the team, which I am, he may not play very much if the OL remains healthy throughout the season (unlikely but not impossible). To me, the players who need to be good are; Barclay (which may not be realistic) since he would be most likely the first backup at either guard or center. Davon House needs to be good because we need him to solidify the CB position. Clark and Lowry need to be good or we won't have a DL. Whoever, becomes the #4 WR needs to be good, for now I'm assuming the will be Allison. Those are some of the players who IMO will be called upon to fill major roles during the upcoming season. Yes, if Murphy sees an extended period of action he needs to be good but that is true of any player we put on the field and Murphy is less likely to play a major role in this season unless we sustain multiple long term injuries on the OL. Thanks, Since '61

sonomaca's picture

What about Gray? Hasn't he been a camp notable?

Turophile's picture

Ross, you're just taking the Michael now with your absurd choices. I've disagreed with previous choices, and I disagree with this one. Are you just trying to generate argument ?

You mentioned the relative lack of experience at guard (behind Evans of course), but that is what Murphy lacks as well. I grant you he is likely ahead of Amichia, who needs plenty of coaching, but are Patrick, Barclay and Gray far behind Murphy, or could any of them be in front of him ?

The Packers will have Spriggs as the no.1 tackle backup (you did mention that possibility), even if he isn't listed as backing up both sides on the depth chart. At guard, they have Evans as the likely starter. Behind him are the three guys I mentioned plus Murphy. I don't know who the backup RG will be yet (Packers list a fourth guy, McCray as the backup to Evans, but it might not turn out that way).

However you want to slice it, there are at least three guys who MIGHT end preseason ahead of Murphy (Gray has performed well this year, Patrick did so last year and Barclay has been a top backup whatever you think of him). Therefore, by the definition of 'has to be good', Murphy isn't in the top five on the team, he's not even close.

The TKstinator's picture

You made me google "taking the Michael".
Ha!
Maybe under the umbrella of "x factors that have to be good", we would agree that SOMEBODY needs to emerge as a quality interior OL backup. And I don't care who it is, as long as somebody seizes the opportunity.
(While simultaneously refusing to take the Michael.)

The TKstinator's picture

Or, they could take me to the river...

PETER MAIZ's picture

I've heard that Spriggs played horrid last night. We should have payed Lang to have experience at least at guard.

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