We saw the benefits of that weight gain in today's one-on-one drills as Murphy faced off with Trent Williams. The athletic Williams fended off Murphy's wide rush attempts, just as he did last year, but Murphy's increased strength proved evident when he went back at Williams with a bull-rush on a second attempt. Murphy knocked the 6-5, 320-pound Williams back on his heels with his initial burst off the line, and Williams at first struggled to recover. Murphy was strong last year, but I don't remember him having much luck against Williams on power rushes last year.
At 5-foot-8 and less than 200 lbs., Thompson may not have the bulk to be a true backup. A tough player - Thompson has played through a host of injuries in his three NFL seasons - in 2015 he carried the ball just 35 times, his most carries ever. Compare that to Jones, who had nearly 150 rush attempts last season in a time share with Morris
Typically with deep balls it's about timing and knowing when to throw it with certain receivers. With Cousins and DeSean Jackson, for example, they're still working on that downfield rhythm in camp. On Friday, Cousins underthrew him on one route, but Saturday they connected on a deep ball. This time, Jackson ran a post and spotted an opening over the middle. It did not appear he was the primary receiver because Cousins quickly turned and spotted him and hit Jackson in stride for what would have been a touchdown. The defensive backs were caught in a little breakdown, but it was enough to cause damage.
To help prepare for this season, Murphy worked out in Atlanta with former Falcons end Chuck Smith, now a trainer. If nothing else, it solidified Murphy's new way of thinking as a pass-rusher. The topic came up partly because I noticed Murphy wasn't using as many moves -- or so it seemed -- as, say, two years ago. In a one-on-one he was able to get into Williams' chest one time for an effective push. He'll never wow with speed, but he can be more effective.