As he walked off the practice field in Richmond for the final time at training camp, Trent Murphy looked both worn and relieved.
The rookie outside linebacker was happy to have survived his first NFL training camp unscathed. He had faced plenty of physical and mental challenges, and he chalked each one up as a learning experience. But Murphy – Washington’s top pick in this year’s draft – also had racked up a number of plays that he could hang his hat on.
“It was a lot of highs and a lot of lows, which I guess is always training camp,” the 6-foot-5, 263-pound Murphy said. “I wanted all highs, but that’s the game of football. It was cool. It was definitely a challenge to come out here every day, focus, try to be consistent, work hard, and then, when the day is over, to reach out to the fans and do the helmet walk. But, awesome, awesome first training camp. Happy I made it out in one piece, which is always the goal. It can only go forward from here.”
Some of Murphy’s highlights in camp included the one-on-one battles he won against young backup tackles Morgan Moses and Tom Compton, as well as fourth-year veteran backup Maurice Hurt. Running down wide receiver Santana Moss from behind on a reverse and stopping him for a short gain also ranked among the Stanford alum’s bright moments.
“Some wins, and some wins don’t come as easy as others, but those wins where you barely even touch the guy and blow right by him, and then run by the quarterback’s hip and everybody knows you got a sack,” Murphy recalled. “Those are the moments I worked hard for and keep striving for.”
Murphy’s showing in the preseason opener, where he made two tackles and recorded a hit on the quarterback in 25 snaps, would have to make the list as well.
There were lows, however, like the times when Murphy had to go against Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams, who proved much stronger and more savvy than the young backups, and thus appeared to hold Murphy at bay with relative ease. And there were times when Murphy got caught out of position and essentially took himself out of plays.
“Just some stuff where my eyes aren’t right, or my hands aren’t right and I’m running sideways when I should be setting a hard edge,” Murphy said. “That’s kind of the name of the game at this level. You’ve got to be at your best every play, otherwise you’re going to be looking like a college football player again.”
Murphy aims to build on that outing as the preseason progresses. They key, he said, is not trying to force things.
“Football’s still a simple game,” he said. “Keep it simple – not over-complicated, not even think. For me, it’s as simple as angle and get-off. I don’t need to think more than that.”