2015 Redskins’ Training Camp Battles

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Jun 16, 2015; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Redskins outside linebacker Trent Murphy (93) participates in drills as part of day one of Redskins Minicamp at Redskins Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Preston Smith vs Trent Murphy

The Skins really loved Trent Murphy, especially Kirk Olivadotti a holdover coach who will be coaching him this season. They loved his nose for the ball creating a number of fumbles and according to ProFootballFocus was one of the best run stopping OLBs in the NFL.

They didn’t like his lack of a consistent pass rush and aren’t sure what to do with him now. McCloughan doesn’t seem to know what to do with him either, drafting OLB/DE Preston Smith in the high 2nd round this past April.

Smith is a different player than Murphy. Murphy is a tackling machine who’s too big to move to ILB and too small to bulk up to play 3-4 DE. Smith played in a lot of positions in college, even playing ILB, 4-3 DE, 2 gap DT, 0 gap NT and OLB in a single game against LSU.

Smith isn’t a traditional rusher at 3-4 OLB but he appears to have more natural rushing skills than Murphy. This alone almost certainly puts him as an edge rusher in the sub package over Murphy.

So who wins? Unless Preston Smith is head and shoulders better than Murphy, Murphy will be the starter in week 1 with Smith as the sub package rusher. By week 8, it’s going to be a toss up. If Smith or Murphy can find a starting role in another position(say 5 tech DE), then it’s likely that Barry puts as much talent on the field as he can.

Odds of the starter being unseated by week 1: 20%

Next: Jeron Johnson vs Duke Ihenacho/Phillip Thomas