While Trent Murphy could see some reps at defensive end this season, the Redskins want to use his experience at the outside linebacker position, which he already played the past two seasons.
Trent Murphy is on his way back to outside linebacker.
Murphy – the Redskins' second-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft – had been packing on the pounds in recent months to move inside to defensive end. But with Junior Galette sidelined following an Achilles injury, Murphy has been asked to go back to the linebacker positon.
"Once Junior tore his Achilles, we tried him [Murphy] at defensive end a little bit, but we feel like at this point in time, we moved him back to linebacker," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. "The good thing about him, he got some experience at defensive end. So, you know, on game day, if you dress five defensive linemen, four outside backers, he can also be an extra defensive lineman. Or, three outside linebackers, count him as a defensive end, he can be an outside linebacker. His value will be big because he can play both."
For his career, Murphy has recorded 65 tackles with six sacks and three fumbles recovered. During the 2015 season, Murphy appeared in all 16 regular season games with 14 starts.
On Washington's first unofficial depth chart of the year, Murphy is listed as the team's No. 2 strongside linebacker behind Preston Smith.
"He, Preston [Smith], Ryan [Kerrigan] will be our feature ends – Houston Bates," Gruden said. "We'll see what happens with the other guys who are competing for jobs – Willie Jefferson, Lynden Trail, Double E [Ejiro Ederaine] and Shiro Davis, so we'll see what happens there. But we'll try to get him going forward more, yes."
Murphy returned to training camp last month clearly bigger, carrying a more muscular frame. While some may view the added weight as a hindrance to the Stanford product, Murphy doesn't see it that way.
"Being back…I was kind of like, 'I've got new weight, I'm going to go hit these guys,'" Murphy said. "I was hitting them with like my shoulders, but you've still got to play with your hands and techniques, so even with added weight you've got to play technically sound, so I'm just getting back to that a little bit."
Gruden added that being that Murphy was never the quickest guy, he won't be impacted too much by a thicker build.
"He can drop into the flat and the curl zone and do some good things, but also provide us with another rusher, whether it's in three-down fronts with him as a spinner, or four-down fronts with him as an end. Maybe we'll try to put him inside. He's doing a good job out here and once we moved him back, he made some big plays and has done well."