Third-year linebacker Trent Murphy has been a bright spot for the Redskins defense early on this season, as he is playing the best football of his career to date.
Trent Murphy is a grinder.
Early in the offseason, Murphy was expected to have a hard time cracking the outside linebacker rotation due to the emergence of Preston Smith, combined with the presence of Ryan Kerrigan and the return of Junior Galette,
So the Redskins asked the third third-year player to bulk up and transition from outside linebacker to defensive end.
He did just that. Murphy gained more than 30 pounds this past offseason – now listed at 290 pounds.
But after Galette tore his Achilles right before training camp – the second torn Achilles in as many years – Murphy has practiced and played at both defensive end and outside linebacker.
Murphy's size has notably increased along with his production on the field.
"I'm not surprised," said head coach Jay Gruden on Murphy's progress. "I've been impressed with Trent ever since he got here – his work ethic."
In just three games, Murphy has three sacks and two forced fumbles. Murphy is only half a sack away from tying his career high for sacks in a season with 13 regular season games still to play.
"His work ethic really takes it over the top in terms of getting better," said Gruden. "Whatever position he's asked to play, he's going to play it. I think the addition of Greg Manusky has really helped him as far as playing outside linebacker and rushing. I think he's just going to get better and better."
Behind Murphy's three sacks, Kerrigan has the second most sacks on the team with 1.5. Murphy has been responsible for three of the team's seven total sacks, which is good for 43 percent.
Murphy's early season success has caught the eye of defensive coordinator Joe Barry.
"Murph is just a grinder. You know, he really is," said Barry. "He's gonna work, he's gonna grind, works his tail off in the weight room with Coach [Mike] Clark, works his tail off every day in practice."
Barry credited Murphy's success to the additional work the Stanford product has been doing after practice.
"You know does little things after practice, whether it be hands, footwork, get offs," said Barry. "He's a true professional in the sense that he's always working at his craft to try and get better and you like when it pays off for a guy on game day, you know, with statistically speaking. So, he's played very well, he's gotta continue to play very well for us."
The Redskins will look to Murphy to disrupt Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Cody Kessler on Sunday as the Redskins try to get back to .500.