Trent Murphy is amid the best season of his young career for the Washington Redskins, and the third-year outside linebacker is ready to keep it going in an enormous matchup this weekend in primetime against the Green Bay Packers.
No. 93 added his seventh sack of the season last week in a big win over the Minnesota Vikings, giving him more than his first two seasons in the league combined. The Stanford product attributed his uptick this season to the hard work put in by his teammates before the lights come on every Sunday.
“Just constant work. Teammates around me kept rallying, kept working,” Trent said. “I knew those plays and opportunities would come my way and I would get with the groove of everything. now it’s just a matter of consistency and finding things to improve and keep it rolling.”
No. 93 and the Washington pass rushers have made their case as one of the league’s best, as they are just one of two teams with two players in the NFL’s top eight in sacks—both Trent and Ryan Kerrigan have seven apiece. Last week, Preston Smith broke out to make a dangerous pass rush even more threating, as Washington shut the Vikings out in the second half to capture a vital victory. This week, Trent and Co. set their sights on prolific quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
“We have a future hall of famer coming in here, you always got to be ready for somebody like Aaron Rodgers,” said linebacker Will Compton. “We’ve got to do a good job covering down, having disciplined rush lanes and then plastering whenever he breaks the pocket.” Though the Packers have slipped from their normal dominance, entering the game with a 4-5 record, every member of the Washington defense understands the talent they’ll be facing. “They’re still a dangerous team.”
Against a competitor like Rodgers, it will be important for Trent and his teammates deliver a 60-minute performance. Despite holding an 11-point lead early, Washington was sent packing by Green Bay in last year’s divisional playoff round—so for the Redskins, there is still a sour taste from the defeat.
“We’ve got make sure we keep him down,” said defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois. “if this guy gets any type of heat, or any type of rhythm with us—you’ve seen what he did to us last year, he sent us home first round.”
Trent, a former NCAA sack leader, will need every inch of his 6-foot-6, 290-pound frame to corral the shifty Rodgers—and another notch in his sack total would greatly benefit his team and help to take Rodgers out of his element.
Washington also holds a one-game advantage over Green Bay in the NFC Wild Card standings—adding even more to the stage of the SNF matchup. Currently riding a three-game losing streak, the Packers will be hungry for a win on the road.
The game kicks off on Sunday night from FedEx Field at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC.