Washington lost OLB Trent Murphy for the season to a torn ACL in Thursday’s preseason loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Murphy, who is coming off a career year where he made his presence known with 9 sacks and 3 forced fumbles, is no longer an option for a Washington defense that was near the bottom of the league in 2016.
Trent Murphy got rolled up on from behind. Grabbing his leg. pic.twitter.com/CgHfuIp96q
— michael phillips (@michaelpRTD) August 11, 2017
Murphy was set to serve a four-game suspension for PEDs once the regular season started however, his role on the team would have provided value for a young core of linebackers that don’t have a ton of experience outside of Ryan Kerrigan. With the Murphy injury, Washington looks to Preston Smith to take the next step in becoming a Pro Bowl level pass rusher and put trust in Junior Galette, who has missed the past two seasons with Achilles injuries. Entering the last year of his rookie deal, Murphy provides the Redskins with no reason, or any team to pay him big next year; the Redskins are now in a tricky situation having to find out what type of depth they have at that spot.
With the 26-year-old backer sidelined, the Redskins must have big years from third year man Preston Smith, who declined in his second year in the league; and Junior Galette, who hasn’t played football since 2014 when he was with the New Orleans Saints, in order to minimize the damage left by Murphy’s absence. Another player expected to step up will be Ryan Anderson, rookie LB out of Alabama to step up and provide impactful snaps when the opportunity arises. Anderson looked solid in the team’s first bit of action where he showed speed and a head-hunting type of physicality that will make defensive coordinators drool.
Zach Brown in two preseason plays has shown me more than Compton has in 2 seasons of play.
— Jay (@RedskinsCult) August 10, 2017
Another possibility to keep an eye on is the team looking at a switch for ILB Zach Brown. Brown who played OLB during his days at North Carolina has blazing speed for his position and is a tackle machine, the team seems enamored with LB Will Compton who started over Brown in preseason game one and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.
Watch Ryan Anderson (#52) blow up the pulling guard here and completely collapse the edge.
— Chad Ryan (@ChadwikoRCC) August 10, 2017
It’s not a lock that Brown moves back outside with Murphy gone, however, the combination of speed and physicality wrapped up with his sure tackling ability makes sense for a team who now needs an edge man. Washington will survive Trent Murphy not being in the lineup but will need to make a move fast to get the new man up to speed.