WILL TRENT MURPHY FIND HIMSELF STUCK IN THE MIDDLE?
Trent Murphy stands out in a big way. Literally.
During the Washington Redskins offseason training activities (OTAs) last week, when the 6′ 6″ Murphy was lined up on kickoff coverage teams, he looked like a man among boys. You don’t normally say that at the NFL level, but the size disparity was obvious to see.
More than one observer on the sidelines exclaimed some version of “Wow, I had no idea Trent Murphy was that big”.
It now begins to be clear why the Redskins were thrilled to see the name Trent Murphy still on the board in the second round after they traded down with the Dallas Cowboys. They wanted to add size and speed to bring a “much needed” pass rush boost, in the words of new Head Coach Jay Gruden.
With the 47th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Redskins GM Bruce Allen sent in the card to bring the Stanford standout to DC. His immediate role–other than bringing a REALLY much needed boost to special teams coverage–will probably be on obvious pass rushing situations.
TRENT MURPHY SPEAKS TO SOW
Do the Redskins have a different long-term role in mind? Murphy spent a few minutes to talk with Son of Washington exclusively after Thursday’s practice (see below for full interview).
“Everyone’s talked about my dad, how big he is”, said Murphy, referring to his bodybuilder father, Jerry. “He weighs 290 and didn’t really fill out [at my age]. Maybe three or four years down the road, I won’t be able to keep off the weight. If they need some help inside, if that’s what to coaches want, then great.”
This opens up a whole ‘nother issue. Middle linebacker is one of those positions that requires not just brawn but brains and leadership. Often referred to as ‘the quarterback of the defense’, the Mike LB needs a certain type of person (see Fletcher, London) who has the intelligence to get everybody in the right position and properly motivate the troops when the going gets tough.
By all accounts, Trent Murphy is a high-character player with a reputation for holding his teammates at Stanford accountable for their performance and effort.
So he has the leadership factor – great. However, does he possess the football acumen that Fletcher demonstrated for his 16 years in the NFL?
REDSKINS MAY HAVE FUTURE PLANS FOR TRENT MURPHY
Just because he went to Stanford doesn’t mean he has the instincts and capacity to be an extension of the coaching staff while on the field. It takes a massive leap of faith for a defensive coordinator to entrust that level of responsibility on any player; for a young player, fuggetaboutit…usually.
Trent Murphy would beg to differ with that assessment.
“If you talk to the coaches, I think they would say, intellectually I can handle it. That’s no problem. Sometimes, I almost feel MORE comfortable making the calls, because then I have to know everything”.
Right now, the Redskins don’t know if Perry Riley can step into Fletcher’s shoes. Keenan Robinson has been making plays left and right, but with two season-ending injuries so early in his career, it would be foolish to put all your chips on his number.
That said, Murphy may one day find himself stuck in the middle, with Ryans to the left of him and Brians to the right.
I get the feeling that’s something which would be just right.
TRENT MURPHY SPEAKS TO SOW’S EVAN REDMON – CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN