Redskins: Rookie Murphy filling in well
For the first seven games Washington Redskins’ rookie outside linebacker Trent Murphy played a support role. He filled in as needed for Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo, and featured mostly on third-downs as an extra pass rusher. His playing time got a boost though when Orakpo suffered a season-ending injury in the Week 7 game against the Titans.
Murphy has started all four games since in place of Orakpo as the weak-side rush linebacker, and while he hasn’t been as disruptive as Orakpo was, he has certainly helped. In that span he’s contributed two sacks, two QB hits and nine hurries for a 9.2 Pass Rushing Productivity score. He’s also batted a pass that he nearly intercepted, made 14 tackles with 12 counting as stops (including the two sacks), while forcing a pair of fumbles and recovering another.
The rookie had his best game last week in San Francisco, disrupting the 49ers’ running game all afternoon (earning a +4.6 run defense grade). His most memorable play came on a 1st-and-15 at 11:05 in the third quarter – he instantly stands up the blocking tight end, which disrupts the pulling guard, Murphy then sheds his blocker before pushing the fullback aside to make a stop. That’s exactly the kind of dominance that could see Murphy carve out a larger role for himself in the teams’ 2015 defense.