With starting experience gained during his rookie season, linebacker Trent Murphy used the offseason to beef up his game, coming back visibly bigger.
A countdown of the Top 10 images of Redskins linebacker Trent Murphy during the 2014 season.
Redskins linebacker Trent Murphy had two goals in mind during the offseason after his rookie year: get more explosive and get stronger.
During the first week of Phase 1 workouts, it was clear that Murphy put time into both goals, as he's visibly added more muscle to his frame.
"I know [for] deadlifting, by the time I left I was [at] 550 [pounds] for six reps or eight reps," he told Redskins.com TV's Larry Michael. "I was doing get-offs twice a week and working with some Olympic sprint coaches. So, I had a lot of positive work."
Murphy -- a second-round pick out of Stanford -- headlined last year's draft class for the Redskins, and while he knew he'd get reps here and there in certain situations -- especially on third-down -- he was thrust into a starting role once Brian Orakpo went down with a season-ending injury.
The Stanford product got his first-career start against the Dallas Cowboys before notching NFL sack No.1 the next week against the Minnesota Vikings.
Each week after his first start, Murphy saw his numbers steadily increase.
"Once I got into a starting role I picked up, I got a lot more playing time maybe than anticipated, but as a player you always want to be a starter no matter how you get there," he said. "Once I was preparing for one job and knew where I'd be playing, I felt more comfortable."
Focused On What He Can ControlWhile general manager Scot McCloughan has reiterated the fact that his draft philosophy is to take the best player available, several draft pundits and media members have pegged the Redskins taking a pass rusher with the No. 5 overall pick.
This scenario, of course, would have a direct impact on Murphy, who would find himself in a battle for the starting outside linebacker job opposite Ryan Kerrigan.
Even if that were to play out, Murphy is focused on bettering himself.
"I really just focus on what I can control," he said. "It's always been my effort in the weight room, studying my playbook and working with the guys I have. Right now, I kind of know who we have in the weight room and next to me on the line of scrimmage and we're working to get the best as we can get."
'Sky's The Limit' For DefenseSpeaking of focus, the Redskins zeroed in on improving the defense first and foremost during free agency, acquiring defensive linemen Ricky Jean Francois, Terrance Knighton and Stephen Paea, cornerback Chris Culliver and safeties Jeron Johnson and Dashon Goldson.
Up front, Jean Francois, Knighton and Paea especially could be the tone setters for a drastically improved defense, freeing up guys like Murphy to make more plays.
"We got some big boys inside walking around," he said. "Some of these guys in the locker room, they have broad shoulders you got to let them go through the door before you try to get through with them. But no, the sky's the limit. We got a great system. Coach Joe Barry, he's coaching us up. We're all loving it right now."