Bills RB Marcus Murphy showcases dual-threat ability in Preseason Week 1

08/11/2018
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Following his strong performance against the Carolina Panthers in Thursday’s preseason opener, the Buffalo Bills’ coaching staff is going to have a tough time keeping running back Marcus Murphy off the 53-man roster. Not only was Murphy the game’s leading rusher, but he also bested all RBs in receptions and total yards.

Murphy displaying his dual-threat ability will go a long way as Buffalo’s coaching staff is looking to finalize its depth chart. Assuming nothing drastic happens in the three remaining preseason games, LeSean McCoy will be the Bills’ starting RB and Chris Ivory will likely be his backup. Behind those two, there’s a battle ensuing between Travaris Cadet, Keith Ford, Taiwan Jones, and Murphy for the remaining RB jobs.

It’s going to be an intriguing competition to keep an eye on for the next three weeks. Fighting for a spot shouldn’t faze Murphy, as that’s something he embraces, according to head coach Sean McDermott.

“Competitive. He’s a competitive guy and he’s fun to watch every day at practice. What you saw here Thursday is what we see every day at practice,” said McDermott. “Whether it’s playing special teams or playing the running back position, he’s selfless and a team guy and I really appreciate that and I love the way he played Thursday.”

Murphy averaged five yards per touch for Buffalo against Carolina, carrying the ball seven times for 35 yards. He also scored one of the three touchdowns on the night for the Bills, barreling up the middle for seven yards as the two-minute warning neared in the first half.

 

Murphy’s selflessness that McDermott alluded to was evident when asked about his first TD in a Bills uniform.

“They did a great job executing their blocks,” Murphy said about his teammates via buffalobills.com. “They just allowed me to walk right in.”

The 5-9, 195-pound RB impressed in the ground game, but he was equally effective through the air. Murphy was targeted four times and flashed his efficiency corralling all of those passes. In the end, he recorded four receptions for 30 yards.

The 26-year-old tailback got a taste of all three of Buffalo’s quarterbacks. Josh Allen, AJ McCarron, and Nathan Peterman each completed a pass to Murphy. His longest catch of the game went for 15 yards, coming from Peterman. McCarron then went on to find him twice on the night, one for three yards and the next an 11-yard gain. Allen was the last QB to link up with Murphy; their lone connection went for one yard.

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Though they only hooked up once in the game, Buffalo’s rookie signal-caller couldn’t say enough good things about the third-year RB.

“I love the dude,” said Allen. “You know he runs big, you know he’s not going to be the biggest guy out there, but I saw him lower his shoulder into a middle linebacker and get three-four more yards, so out of a back that’s all you can ask for, to be honest. A guy who is going to try to run through a wall to get extra yards.”

“He’s going to hold onto the football, he’s dynamic outside, he can catch the ball, so he’s someone to look out for, for sure.”

Marcus Murphy’s first preseason game went flawlessly as he fights for the third RB spot on the depth chart. He’ll get another crack at the competition next Friday with the Bills traveling to Cleveland to take on the Browns. Following that game, the Bills will round out the preseason at home against the Bengals and on the road versus the Bears.

It’s safe to say Murphy has the right mindset with the regular season less than a month away.

“I just have tunnel vision right now,” he said. “I am taking it one day at a time and improving in a lot of different areas in order to improve my overall game. I am fully embracing the process in Buffalo.”

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