GREEN BAY - In his first few days, Kyle Murphy binged on Netflix. There was nothing else he could do. The Green Bay Packers second-year tackle had been carving a spot for himself on the offensive line, starting the first three games last season, until his foot twisted and a ligament "snapped."
Those "Game of Thrones" episodes barely curbed his misery.
Eventually, Murphy returned to Lambeau Field. His season was over, already placed on injured reserve, but he sat in meetings and watched practice when he wasn’t rehabbing. It was better than being stuck at home, but IR can be a lonely place.
“The first few weeks, once you get surgery,” Murphy said, “you’re kind of in the dumps. You feel like you’re so removed from everything. But that’s kind of all in the past now.”
Indeed, Murphy will be busy for the foreseeable future.
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At the onset of camp, Murphy said, he merely wanted to knock the rust off after missing 13 games last season. His development entering his third season was accelerated when David Bakhtiari rolled his ankle Saturday during the Packers annual Family Night practice. Now, Murphy is the starting left tackle until Bakhtiari returns.
Considering there’s no rush for the Packers to get their franchise left tackle back on the field for meaningless snaps, that could be quite a while. Even if Bakhtiari said his sprained ankle was “nothing catastrophic” and indicated it shouldn’t threaten his availability for the season opener.
“I’m not really worried about getting reps with (left guard) Lane (Taylor),” Bakhtiari said. “We’ve played long enough together.”
Murphy might have entered training camp with hopes of fighting for a starting job at right tackle, but Bryan Bulaga’s rapid return from a torn ACL and his move to the left side changed plans. While still getting work on both sides as he has in the past, most of Murphy’s reps in camp were at left tackle even before Bakhtiari’s injury.
Now, he’ll get reps — and snaps — that could be invaluable to his development, especially after missing so much time last season.
“There’s a little bit of trying to get back to where you were before,” Murphy said, “but also breaking the bad habits that you had before and trying to be a better player than you were before you got injured, which is kind of where I’m at right now. I don’t have the mindset to think, ‘OK, I’ve just got to try to get back to where I was.’ I definitely want to be and think I am and will be a better player than I was last year.
“Going into Year 3, it’s a big year.”