As Saturday morningâs practice session at the Washington Redskinsâ rookie minicamp wrapped up and players trickled off the field for their lunch breaks, outside linebackers coach Brian Baker pulled Trent Murphy aside for some one-on-one tutoring.
The coach and second-round pick âÂ Washington’s first this year âÂ worked on technique on hand placement, and how to fend off blockers. As Baker demonstrated on Murphy, the 2013 NCAA sacks leader, nodded his head and then carried out the technique himself.
Satisfied, Baker praised the rookie and walked off. Murphy filed the tips away in his memory bank along with the other lessons he had learned, and re-learned this weekend. The one-on-one attention continued throughout the afternoon session. Following a series of plays when the first unit made way for the second unit, Baker met Murphy as he returned to the sideline, and shared more instructions.
âDifferent scheme, different defense,â Murphy said. âSo, learning the scheme, learning some technique, new coaching points, and really trying to refine and hone in some pass-rushing techniques. Itâs kind of the ancient Chinese secret, âThere is no secret, really.â So, Iâm just going back to some fundamental things and some fundamental pass-rush angles and get-off and things. Itâs good to get back to basics.â
Asked for a rundown of the tips Baker had shared, Murphy said, âBasically, to keep my outside hand up on the boot, and one arm is longer than two, so put that big mitt up there so quarterbacks canât see over and maybe bat a ball down, and of course, the old saying âNo jumpiesâ when youâre running after a quarterback. Donât jump up there because if he tucks and runs, then youâre in the air and canât do anything.â
The Redskins last week selected Murphy with the 47thÂ pick of the draft with plans to pair him with veteran outside linebackers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan and boost Washingtonâs pass rush.
Murphy this week has spent the bulk of the time rushing from the left edge â in the spot usually manned by Kerrigan. Redskins coaches see Murphy initially as a situational pass rusher, who could either provide relief for the two Pro Bowl linebackers, and at times, join them on the field.
Murphy said he doesnât yet know what lies in store for him, but that he isnât worried.
âFirst and foremost, I want to learn from them,â he said of Orakpo and Kerrigan. âTheyâre two phenomenal players and hopefully I can get in the mix, and spell them here and there or maybe sometimes get on the field at the same time as them.â
Murphy said thus far, his NFL introduction has gone smoothly. Having played in a 3-4 defense at Stanford, he has a head start on some of his fellow rookie pass rushers, who are trying to make the team while also transitioning from 4-3 defensive end to outside linebacker.
âItâs helped tremendously,â he said. âSome of the other guys here, theyâve never played OLB before and you can tell their head’s spinning. But for me, it helps because some of the calls are the same as Stanfordâs, so itâs been really good.â
Murphy spent the weekend matched up primarily with right tackle Morgan Moses, Washingtonâs third-round pick out of Virginia. Moses appeared to get the best of Murphy in their matchups on Saturday. But Murphy said the two had already âbeen going back and forth,â and that he expected the competition to only help.
âFor me, itâs just getting better. Every moment, every day,â he said. âLike the saying, Â âIf youâre not getting better every day, youâre getting worse.â â
Gruden said he and coaches have received encouragement from their initial up-close look at Murphy. They believe his showing only confirmed their draft-day expectations for the pass rusher.
âHeâs got a wide variety of moves and Coach Baker is only going to make him better and better,â Gruden said. âHeâs got a long way to go obviously, but weâre excited to work with a guy thatâs 6-foot-5 1/2 with room to get bigger and stronger, and has the arsenal of moves that he has. He can counter-move, he doesnât predetermine. Heâs got good spin move, heâs got an inside move, outside move, he uses his hands, he can get down and work his leverage. So, heâs got all the skill you want already. Itâs just a matter of keep developing him, keep getting his get-offs and develop him. Weâre happy with that pick, no doubt.â
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