- The Washington Times - Monday, August 8, 2016

Trent Murphy spent the offseason working diligently in Scottsdale, Arizona, working with trainer Ian Danney as he packed on weight to transition from outside linebacker to defensive end in the Redskins’ defense.

When Murphy returned to organized team activities in the spring he was noticeably bigger and listed on the roster at 290 pounds, a 32-pound gain from last season when he was listed as 258. With the expected return of outside linebacker Junior Galette, the Redskins were comfortable having Murphy make that switch.

Galette tore his right Achilles tendon just days before the start of training camp and is out for the season, which prompted the Redskins to switch Murphy back to outside linebacker. Murphy began training camp at defensive end, but over the last few days he has been taking reps with the outside linebackers. Last season, when Galette was out with a torn left Achilles tendon, Murphy rotated with Preston Smith at the position opposite Ryan Kerrigan.

“Once Junior tore his Achilles, we tried [Murphy] at defensive end a little bit, but we feel like at this point in time, we moved him back to linebacker,” Gruden said. “The good thing about him, he got some experience at defensive end. So, you know, on game day, if you dress five defensive linemen, four outside backers, he can also be an extra defensive lineman. Or, three outside linebackers, count him as a defensive end, he can be an outside linebacker. His value will be big because he can play both.”

The hope was that the Redskins would be able to maximize Murphy’s strength as a pass rusher with the move to defensive end and that still remains the goal now that he’s back as an outside linebacker. Kerrigan and Smith are expected to be the starting outside linebackers, while Houston Bates, Lynden Trail and Willie Jefferson are among players competing for backup jobs.

Murphy has lost some of the weight he gained during the offseason and is now playing closer to 270 pounds, which is still an increase from last season.

“He wasn’t exactly a speedster to begin with, so I think he’ll be fine,” Gruden said. “He can drop into the flat and the curl zone and do some good things, but also provide us with another rusher, whether it’s in three-down fronts with him as a spinner, or four-down fronts with him as an end. Maybe we’ll try to put him inside. He’s doing a good job out here and once we moved him back, he made some big plays and has done well.”

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