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OPEN THREAD: Consider Trent Murphy in Junior Galette pursuit

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OPEN THREAD: Consider Trent Murphy in Junior Galette pursuit

It appears the Redskins pursuit of recently dismissed New Orleans Saints linebacker Junior Galette is quite serious. While not a done deal yet, Galette seems to have major interest of the Washington brass, and perhaps more importantly, not many other suitors.

Galette's talent is obvious: With 22 sacks the last two seasons he has a proven ability to get to the quarterback. Outside of Ryan Kerrigan, few on the Redskins defense can boast the same, and certainly no other linebacker can tout those kind of numbers. 

Galette brings much baggage, both as a teammate and a person, and GM Scot McCloughan and coach Jay Gruden must weigh that against his on-field talents. But one name seems a bit lost in the Galette-palooza, that of former second round pick Trent Murphy. By all accounts, Murphy had a tremendous offseason, adding weight and getting familiar with the new defensive scheme of Joe Barry. Gruden even said as much after practice on Wednesday.

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"It’s very early at training camp and we like competition in all spots, but Trent Murphy has really done an excellent job," the coach said. "In OTAs, he probably had about 15 sacks – would-have-been sacks – if we let the whistle blow."

As a rookie, Murphy's numbers were rather pedestrian, though the big man from Stanford did deal with injuries. He played in 15 games, logged 22 tackles to go with 2.5 sacks and forced two fumbles. He took over the starting outside linebacker job when Brian Orakpo went down with injury, and with 'Rak gone now to Tennessee, that job is presumed to be Murphy's. Or was presumed to be Murphy's until the Galette situation arose.

There will certainly be competition from new rookie Preston Smith, but Murphy has already established himself as a strong player against the run. If he can combine that with better pass rushing, there would be no question who gets the starting spot. To call it a hype train implies false connotation, and by all accounts that's not the case, but the avalanche of positive talk on Murphy's development this offseason leads reason to think it could be a big year for 93.

"He’s really put on some weight. He’s stronger, he looks a little quicker, and he’s got great knowledge of the system. He’s a very smart player," Gruden said of Murphy. "Trent is going to be a tough guy to get out of that lineup."

An NFL team can never have too many pass rushers, period. As offenses transition around the league to more up-tempo and pass heavy, the ability to get to the opposing QB is one of the few means to slow a team down. If McCloughan believes Galette will make the team better, and the organization is properly prepared to handle any off-field issues, a potential signing makes sense.

But what does it mean for Murphy? And what does it mean if the coaches all speak to his development from his rookie season to Year 2?

Let us know what you think in the comments. 

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With the game put in their hands, the Redskins defense got the job done again

With the game put in their hands, the Redskins defense got the job done again

The Redskins got going quickly on offense against the Packers on Sunday. They scored in four plays the first time they had the ball. After a three and out they drove to another touchdown. In the second quarter they embarked on the longest touchdown drive they have had since 1999, a 98-yard march. By the time halftime came they had scored 28 points. 

That’s great but that four touchdowns are not always enough to beat an Aaron Rodgers-led Packers team. In 2016, the last season that Rodgers played all 16 games, Green Bay averaged 27 points per game. Basically, no lead is safe. 

But Jay Gruden played it very safe with the offensive play calling in the second half. Alex Smith, who was on fire in the first half, attempted only five passes in the last 30 minutes. They had 57 yards rushing in the second half, 32 of which came on the Redskins final possession when they drove for a field goal, their only points of the final two quarters. 

It was a similar performance to their season opener against the Cardinals when they were up 21-0 at halftime and then posted just a field goal in the second quarter. 

While the lack of offense in the second half of the Redskins’ two wins has been a talking point among fans and in the media, the key point is that both games turned out in the Redskins’ favor. They now have a defense that Gruden can trust to hold a lead. 

In Arizona, the Redskins defense gave up a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, but the lead was never in danger. On Sunday, a fourth-down stop and a takeaway kept the Packers game from ever getting to be a one-score game. 

In the second halves of their three games, including the Week 2 loss to the Colts, the Redskins have given up an average of 147 yards and seven points. It’s a small sample size but so far, they are doing a good job of shutting the door. 

Another thing the Redskins have been doing well defensively is preventing big plays. The longest play against them was the 64-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter against the Packers. Other than that, they have given up just four plays that gained over 20 yards and none longer than 27 yards. 

They are second in total defense. They are giving up a miniscule 4.3 adjusted net yards per pass attempt, a full two yards less than the league average. If you prefer to use the more traditional passer rating stat, opponents have compiled a 77.0, well below the league aggregate rating of 91.2. Again, it’s early but this is a good start. 

The Washington defense will need to keep it going the next two weeks. First up after the bye is Drew Brees of the Saints, who is healthy and completing over 80 percent of his passes. New Orleans also has running back Alvin Kamara, one of the best two-way threats in the game. After that is Cam Newton of the Panthers, who the Redskins never have beaten, and his dual-threat running back Christian McCaffrey. 

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NFC East Update: Eagles, Redskins separate from Cowboys, Giants

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NFC East Update: Eagles, Redskins separate from Cowboys, Giants

The season remains young, but a clear declination appears to be forming in the NFC East. The Redskins and Eagles boast capable offenses, and the Giants and Cowboys do not. 

With the Redskins getting the first bye of the division this week, records going forward will not reflect the same number of games played. In a way, that means this could be the most fair comparison for some time of the four NFC East squads. Let's get to it:

Philadelphia Eagles (2-1)

The big news on Broad Street wasn't that the Eagles got a Week 3 win, but rather the successful return of QB Carson Wentz. He played fine in the 20-16 win over the Colts, not great, but having the gifted young passer back on the field for the first time since a 2017 knee injury provides a big boost for the Eagles.

Philly also piled up more than 150 rush yards in their Week 3 win while holding the Colts running backs to less than 40 yards on the ground. That's the Eagles formula to stack up wins.

Up next: Sept. 30th @ Tennessee

Washington Redskins (2-1)

Talk about a big rebound. The Redskins dominated the first half of play against Green Bay and finished with a double digit win over the Packers. In their two wins, the Redskins have looked like one of the best squads in the NFL. Unfortunately, the ugly loss to Indianapolis sits in the middle.

Still, with the Redskins on a bye for Week 4, fans should be quite encouraged with the state of their team. Adrian Peterson looks to have plenty left in the tank and questions about Alex Smith's ability to find his wideouts seem overblown. Defensively, a young, ferocious group of linemen appear to be the best the team has had in a long time. The offensive line is banged up, and the bye will be quite useful for that group. Of the NFC East teams, the Redskins have the best point differential at +20, which happens with two double digit wins.

Up next: Oct. 8th @ New Orleans

Dallas Cowboys (1-2)

Through three weeks, the Cowboys offense is terrible. Dallas ranks 30th in points-per-game and 31st in yard-per-game. There are only 32 teams. The pass game is killing the Cowboys, as Dak Prescott is averaging less than 150 pass yards per game. That's real bad, but it's not all his fault.

Dallas cut Dez Bryant in the offseason and did nothing to address his absence. The defense is active and physical up front, but in the NFL, teams need to score points. Right now, it's unclear if Dallas will be able to at a reasonable level. 

Up next: Sept. 30th vs Detroit

New York Giants (1-2)

The only team with a division loss, the Giants logged a surprise good win in Week 3 in Houston. Not quite as bad as Dallas on offense, the Giants merely rank in the bottom third of the league in total yards and points-per-game.

Despite the emergence of rookie Saquon Barkley, the Giants are averaging just 87 yards-per-game on the ground. The biggest problem for Big Blue remains the offensive line, and don't expect it to get much better this year. 

Up next: Sept. 30th vs New Orleans

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