As he closes out his second season on a high note, Trent Murphy's daily dedication to becoming a better football player has paid off, as teammates and coaches encourage him to finish each and every play.
It was early in the season, Trent Murphy's second with the Washington Redskins, and he was admittedly frustrated with the outcome of his own performances.
Murphy – who was selected in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft – was starting and, in fact, making plays.
But when it came to getting into the backfield, he just wasn't finishing — at least, that's what it looked like on the stat sheet.
"As a player, it's been a little frustrating for me, especially early on in the season, I was in the backfield a lot," Murphy said. "And I've had some of my teammates come up to me and say, 'Keep going, I see you back there, they're just getting the ball out, but you're there being disruptive, so keep doing that.'"
Murphy said that support from teammates, especially the veterans who see his potential, helps ease his mind at times.
"It's encouraging to be back there and be beating guys," Murphy said. "Obviously would like to be able to see it in the stat sheet a little bit more. Just because that's what people go off of, but it's still encouraging, keep going forward from it."
In recent weeks, Murphy's persistence has paid off, as the Stanford product has two sacks in the last three weeks.
Against the Chicago Bears in Week 14, Murphy not only got to Jay Cutler, he stripped the quarterback of the ball and recovered it himself.
"We called that the trifecta, not only getting the sack but getting the sack, causing a fumble and recovering it," Redskins defensive coordinator Joe Barry said. "That was a big play for us and a big play in the first half."
Murphy was thrusted into starting role last season when former first-round pick Brian Orakpo exited the Redskins' Week 7 victory over the Tennessee Titans with what was later announced as a torn pectoral muscle.
Murphy, who turned 25 on Tuesday, would start the next eight games, recording 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles before suffering a broken hand in the Redskins' Week 16 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
After recovering from the break, Murphy used the offseason to bulk up for his sophomore season.
He returned in April for Phase 1 of offseason workouts visibly bigger.
"I know [for] deadlifting, by the time I left I was [at] 550 [pounds] for six reps or eight reps," Murphy said. "I was doing get-offs twice a week and working with some Olympic sprint coaches. So, I had a lot of positive work."
That work ethic, that desire to do everything it takes to be a better football player, has carried over to the field this season.
"I'll tell you what, I know you see some of the pre-practice stuff, but I've been around a lot of guys that work hard, but you talk about just a lunch pail guy that comes to work every single day and works his tail off, really works at his craft," Barry said. "The only thing I can attribute it to is just his hard work and his diligence because he shows up every single day whether it's in the weight room, whether it's in the film room, obviously the practice field and working on every aspect of his game whether it's setting the edge in the run or pass rush working his hands, working his hips. When a guy is that diligent and that dedicated to his craft, good things are going to eventually show for him."