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 Davante Adams 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.

Here are the first three entries for 2018:

Geronimo Allison
Vince Biegel
Kevin King

Kyle Murphy is a very important part of the Packers plan in 2018.  David Bakhtiari is the second most important player on the team.  He is currently the league's finest left tackle and his ability to protect Rodgers' blind side without assistance will afford Philbin opportunities to design a much better offense.  If he goes down there is really nothing that can be done.  The replacement player will require a tight end or a back to chip or help out.  No way around that.  

Frankly there are 10 or 12 left tackles in football that don't require that help as it is.  No team really has two of them.

Bryan Bulaga's case is a little different.  He's one of the game's finest right tackles when he's healthy, and he appears to be healthy. The right tackle spot has become more and more important over the last few seasons, and for good reason.  Offenses work better when the right tackle can protect the passer as well.  Many NFL teams have caught up to the idea that left tackles are the pass protectors and line up their top rushers on the left side of the defensive formation, the offense's right.  

Still though, there are aspects of the right tackle spot that make life a little easier.  First and foremeost the quarterback can see that pressure coming.  Rodgers specifically is adept at this.  There have been many a successful start with Justin McCray, Don Barclay, Marshall Newhouse or some other train wreck at right tackle.  It's fine. 

There is however, one player on Green Bay's roster that I'm convinced can be better than a train wreck.  Kyle Murphy.

I was ecstatic when Green Bay drafted him in the sixth round in 2016.  I had a mid round grade on murphy and felt he'd be an average starter (this has a ton of value) at right tackle and an above average guard (also plenty of value). 

Murphy was, according to Coach McCarthy going to play exclusively right guard and right tackle this offseason, which would simplify things for the third year pro.  That plan was apparently thrown out the window when Murphy started the first preseason game of the season at left tackle.  

Murphy gave up a sack to Harold Landry, but a lot of people are going to give up sacks to Harold Landry.  Pro Football Focus issued Murphy a grade of 77.4 at left tackle for his performance against Tennessee.  That is an above average mark, matches what I saw and ranks 10th out of 49 tackles they graded in week one.  Is Murphy a superstar? no.  Is he even a left tackle?  I really don't think so, but he can lock down the right guard spot and pitch in at right tackle if needed.  

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Ross Uglem is a staff writer for Cheesehead TV. He can be found on Twitter @RossUglem 

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Comments (21)

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Bert's picture

August 13, 2018 at 02:46 pm

I'm hoping there may be one or two others that "can be better than a trainwreck." That sounds kinda ominous.

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Ross Uglem's picture

August 13, 2018 at 03:16 pm

there is a lot of really bad offensive line play in the NFL. That is just fact right now.

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Bert's picture

August 13, 2018 at 07:10 pm

I agree Ross. Do you think it is just that there aren't enough good OLs or there just isn't enough padded practice to develop good OLs?

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Ross Uglem's picture

August 13, 2018 at 07:50 pm

there are a number of factors. Great question. I think the practice issue contributes a little. I think that the college style of offense where you're in shotgun sets in a two point stance the whole time contributes a little.

As Ted Thompson would always say the good lord only put so many talented big men on this earth.

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Bert's picture

August 13, 2018 at 08:51 pm

I see your point about the college style. Very difficult to evaluate talent and then for the player to make the transition to the pro style offense, But you're right. It seems like quality OL depth is always an issue.

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PatrickGB's picture

August 13, 2018 at 03:30 pm

He was part of the same draft as Spriggs who was over drafted. And he has looked better from day one. However, he has a relatively low ceiling. He is good enough and that’s ok for a backup. And his best position is on the right side. I like him yet hope we don’t need him. I don’t know if he has to be good, but it sure would be important if he was. Good article.

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Fire_Gute's picture

August 13, 2018 at 08:29 pm

Spriggs wasn't overdrafted he just sucks. If he wasn't a high pick he would be gone, but GB didn't reach higher than projected for him. No matter where he was drafted it would look bad now, but he was supposed to be a 1st or 2nd rounder. He's another reason why giving up high picks to trade for proven stars doesn't bother me one bit

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Turophile's picture

August 14, 2018 at 05:45 am

I wouldn't say Murphy was indispensible (Spriggs and Pankey are other options), but things would be a lot more comfortable if Murphy could stand in for a few games (if/when needed), without being noticed much.

I didn't think your past choice of Biegel was key either, as Gilbert gives us hope.

Allison and King (also past choices), they are really important. So is the need to keep WR Davante Adams healthy. I'd be tempted to include TE Marcedes Lewis as a 'dark horse' candidate. A good veteran blocking TE can make quite a difference, though most wouldn't notice.........in fact there are a number of guys you can make a case with, ILB Burks, the two new corners, Bulaga (just needs to stay healthy).

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Handsback's picture

August 13, 2018 at 03:32 pm

Green Bay needs a good swing tackle and another that can be OK. I don't know if they have them.

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Spud Rapids's picture

August 13, 2018 at 03:42 pm

What's up with Cole Madison not reporting? They said a "personal issue" that the Packers are behind. Only think I can figure is a sick family member?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

August 13, 2018 at 05:05 pm

The team hasn't revealed the reason. Some speculation is that Madison's college teammate committed suicide using Madison's weapon, and he is having a hard time dealing with that. But IDK for sure.

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Demon's picture

August 13, 2018 at 05:56 pm

I would guess it to be a legal issue or drug/alcohol issue rehab perhaps?

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porupack's picture

August 13, 2018 at 03:59 pm

Thanks for the series. I agree with you on KMurphy. Good case, that a solid Oline is going to make big impact on a wide open offensive scheme, or a conservative scheme. KKing for sure.

Not so sure about Allison, b/c any other young WR could have breakout, and Allison becomes a bit of a rotational guy.

My suggestion is that each article, you list the players such as Rodgers, Adams, Baktiari ones that you disclaim as the obvious, big money guys. It would be a good reminder as background to your 5-guys series. Otherwise, hard to comment whether a second tier ascending player (for example; a name like Clinton-Dix, or MAdams) would appear in the group of obvious, or the 5 guys-x factor.

Otherwise...good on ya.

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dobber's picture

August 13, 2018 at 04:15 pm

I always read the "5 guys" series to be more of "the person in this role" as much as the actual player. I think you hit on that with your discussion of Allison: they need a third WR to be really good. Could be Allison. Could be anyone else, so long as they have someone performing well in that role.

In this case, they need a decent third OT who can be credible on the left side. Murphy might be that guy...maybe it's Spriggs. But one of those guys is going to need to play at some point, and they need to be good enough for the offense to function and to not get #12 killed.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

August 13, 2018 at 09:13 pm

Same with the Biegel conversation. Reggie Gilbert, Donnerson, Looney, or Fackrel could step up as rotational OLBers. After the Titans game I expect Gilbert to be a bigger factor in 2018 than Biegel. I would love for Biegel to have a big year and prove me wrong but so far I haven't seen much from him.

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Rak47's picture

August 14, 2018 at 12:41 am

“Reggie Gilbert’s a heck of a football player,” McCarthy said after Thursday’s exhibition. “Just so proud of him. When you watch a young man come off of the practice squad, change his body – just, he just does it right. He’s very disciplined, and obviously the statistics, I would think he had some really good numbers tonight.”He was kicking ass in practice,” McCarthy said after the season". Number 5 on your list Ross has to be Gilbert right? everyone on here knows I'm a big believer in Gilbert and Allison, both of whom are making big impressions in camp so far.

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gr7070's picture

August 13, 2018 at 04:12 pm

This is always a great series of articles and Ross is Cheesehead TV's best writer.

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Samson's picture

August 13, 2018 at 04:59 pm

Like the series ... but there's probably just as good a chance that none of these mentioned have any impact in season 2018. In fact, a few will probably exit the NFL sooner rather than later. --- The positions mentioned is the key .... not the names mentioned.

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gr7070's picture

August 13, 2018 at 07:01 pm

The positions are a very good point.

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Johnblood27's picture

August 13, 2018 at 08:00 pm

5 guys that have to be good.

Justin McCray has to be good. Protecting AR is job 1. No weak links. That means you, Mr. McCray.

Muhammad Wilkerson has to be good. The Pack stood pat on the DL with the exception of adding Mo. He needs to take some heat off of MD and KC. He has to be good for this defense to show improvement. The DL needs to take the pressure off of the back end by shrinking the time the QB has.

Tramon Williams has to be good. H eisnt a cheerleader or a coach. He has to perform on the field for this defense to hold up on the back end while King and the rooks get stabilized. House is a vet, but he cant carry the load like TW was brought in to do.

Kentrell Brice has to be good. This team needs a compliment to HHCD. He cannot cover the entire deep field by himself and he showed last year that his head can leave the game. Brice's performance will salvage 2 players performance. Be assignment sure and deliver the hit only whne it is available. Brice has the ability, he needs to translate it into production.

Jaire Alexander has to be good. He is becoming the soul of the back line. His aggressive confident nature is infectious on this team. He needs to evolve into a force in the slot while King and TW hold down the corners. He is the glue for this backfield, as he goes, so goes the pass coverage.

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Bret Iverson's picture

August 14, 2018 at 08:36 pm

The Packers need one tackle to step up.

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