With the Miami Dolphins 2011 training camp progressing into its second week, the left tackle position has been rock solid through the first eight practices. As usual, the left tackle position has stonewalled some of the Dolphins' best pass rushers. Linebackers, and pass rush specialists, Cameron Wake and Jason Taylor have both met the wall that is the left tackle.
The problem? It's not Miami's All-Pro left tackle Jake Long.
It's Lydon Murtha.
That's right, it's Lydon Murtha.
Murtha was a seventh round draft choice by the Detroit Lions in 2009. In September of that year, the Lions stashed the offensive tackle onto their practice squad. A month later, the Dolphins signed Murtha from the Lions' practice squad.
And now, with Long resting a sore knee, Murtha is showing an ability to excel at the left tackle position. So, who is Lydon Murtha?
Murtha, a 6'7", 315 lbs. monster, was born in Homestead, Florida, but grew up in Minnesota. Electing to go to Nebraska, Murtha started 23 games for the Cornhuskers, appearing in 40 total games over his four years. Murtha graduated as a 4-time Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll selection.
After joining the Dolphins in 2009, Murtha saw the field one time during his first season, before being placed on injured reserve in December. The 2010 season would be better for him. Of the Dolphins 16 games, Murtha appeared in 9, with 4-starts, mostly at right tackle in place of the injured Vernon Carey.
But, it's his play during this year's training camp that's beginning to turn some heads. While no one is expecting Murtha to produce results like Long, his performance has solidified his role as Long's primary backup. And, he is demonstrating that there might not be as much a drop off at left tackle without Long as was feared.
Once Long does come back, it will be interesting to see if Murtha makes the transition over to right tackle, pushing aside assumed started Marc Colombo, who pushed aside incumbent starter Vernon Carey. With all the attention focused on 2011 first round draft pick , center Mike Pouncey, it might just be Murtha who steals the show.