Trent Murphy added close to 30 pounds of weight this offseason in an effort to bulk up and play the 2016 season as a defensive end. That plan, for now, is on hold.
Redskins coach Jay Gruden announced that after working Murphy as an end throughout OTAs and minicamp, the three-year veteran will move back to outside linebacker, the position he played his first two seasons in the NFL with middling results.
"At this point in time we moved him back to linebacker," Gruden said. "The good thing about it is he got some experience at defensive end."
Gruden talked at length that Murphy's time spent at end will help him this fall, as it gives the team versatility both in constructing the game day roster and in his ability to play on or off the line of scrimmage.
"On game day we dress five defensive linemen and four outside 'backers, he can also be an extra defensive lineman," the coach said. "His value will be bigger because he can play both."
What the position change means for Murphy will be interesting though. In two years as an outside linebacker, mostly a pass rusher in the 3-4 scheme, Murphy produced six sacks. Not bad, but certainly not what Washington expected when they took him in the second round of the 2014 draft. The move inside to end was intended to let Murphy use his size, and his increased weight, to set the edge against opposing rush offenses.
Once Junior Galette was lost for the year, Gruden explained, the Redskins were forced to look at their depth at outside linebacker, and that led to them moving Murphy back there. As for the extra weight, the coach doesn't seem too concerned.
"He's right around 270 right now. I think he can handle it, he looks good, he's stronger," Gruden said.
"He wasn't exactly a speedster to begin with."