Play 2: vs. North Dakota, 3rd quarter, 6:18 remaining, 3rd & goal
What the offense is running: Levels concept out of shotgun. Two outermost receivers run inside; the slot runs a corner route.
What the defense is running: Four-man initial blitz, two-man delayed blitz. Weakside safety acts as a robber in a zone. Looks to be man-coverage for the cornerbacks, for the most part.
What Murphy is tasked to do: Man coverage versus the slot.
What happens: A lot is going on here for Washington. Not only is there a delayed two-man blitz, but there is also a variation of coverages going on. Due to the two outside cornerbacks interchanging shallow zones, this looks to be a zone coverage, and the inside linebacker sitting gives that off too. However, Murphy is in press-man versus the slot cornerback.
Murphy’s man coverage is the thing that saves this play. Although the two outside cornerback’s, either accidental or purposeful switching clog the lane, the result is no touchdown. Without Murphy’s excellent play, this would’ve been a touchdown for North Dakota as the two inside routes clear space for the corner route.
Murphy uses his hands to dissuade the course of the receiver, and, by the way, he stays on top of the route, knows exactly what the offense is running. He was was on top of this play from the get-go, which shows impressive instincts and continues to reaffirm the popular notion that he’s a film room junkie.
- Really impressive ability to diagnose the play. While the rest of the defense is jumbled and frankly looks confused, Murphy stays on top of his route and defends it perfectly.
- His pressing ability looks much better in the slot than in the outside. A large part of that is facing less athletic, smaller receivers, but he knows, as shown in the clip above, how to use his arms to change the path of the route in the inside.
- Again, love the short area burst, closing speed, and explosiveness. He doesn’t need to play catchup, but he does finish the play with excellent closing speed to disallow the receiver the ability to catch the ball.
- Great ball skills. Murphy isn’t the lengthiest guy, but he knows how to use his hands and has plus body control and ball concentration.