After getting some of the jitters out early in his first NFL regular season game, Washington Redskins rookie linebacker Trent Murphy was at ease for most of Sunday's season opener against the Houston Texans.
"I just felt excitement, really," Murphy said after the game. "I was a little jittery here and there early, but I was trying to play and have fun and let all the practicing take care of itself out there. ... "It was my first NFL game, and I won't forget it."
Murphy – the Redskins' top draft pick this year in the second round – was packaged into several different situations requiring his services, and while he didn't record a tackle, he made an impact in other facets of the game.
"There wasn't too many plays to be made, but I did my job most plays," he said. "It was kind of a 'Do your job' game."
A job requirement for the entire Redskins defense was finding a way to contain elusive Texans running back Arian Foster.
Known for his ability to shed tackles and generate extra yardage when a play appears dead at first, there were several plays in the game where multiple Redskins were required in stopping Foster and taking him down.
A tough test in his first regular season game, Murphy said Foster served reminder that in the NFL, you must play until the whistle blows.
"That's where you need that relentless pursuit more than ever," Murphy said of making sure to get Foster to the ground. "That's what the coaches preach, and that's kind of a fundamental part of defensive football we have to continue to bring, especially against talent like that.
"That game showed it more than anything else."
One of the most notable adjustments Murphy's had to make in his jump to the NFL is learning when to pick his spot to attack.
During his senior season at Stanford, he recorded 23.5 tackles for loss and an NCAA-high 15 sacks, but with the Redskins, he's being asked to serve a variety of roles. Some of those roles don't necessarily require him to be in on every tackle.
"I want to make every play and be disruptive," he said. "I'm not satisfied unless I'm making plays."
With Sunday's home opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars just five days away, Murphy believes the entire team will continue to build on the positives and correct mistakes that occurred during Week 1's loss to the Texans.
"I think the sky's the limit for both sides of the ball," he said. "We've just got to play better."