While all eyes have been on the Bills quarterbacks this preseason, there is another player on offense who is turning heads.
“He’s done everything right,” said offensive coordinator Brian Daboll on Thursday. “He just does the right thing. He’s very dependable, and hopefully he just continues to get better.”
That player is the currently the Bills leader in rushing through two preseason games. Marcus Murphy may be undersized at 5’9″, but he is making a case for himself to be a backup running back behind LeSean McCoy with electric plays on offense and special teams.
“I just try to use my speed to my advantage and still bring some power with it,” said Murphy after practice on Thursday. “I think I can run in-between the tackles, and get on the perimeter as well as catching the ball out of the backfield, punt and kick returns. I just try to be a playmaker.”
Murphy joined the Bills practice squad last November, but didn’t make the active roster until the final week of the regular season. In Miami during Week 17, Murphy rushed for 41 yards on 7 carries. The Bills still felt strongly enough to bring him back for 2018.
“From the day he walked in the door, he has really embraced his role. Whatever role that has been asked of him, he has embraced it,” said head coach Sean McDermott. “Always passionate about his job, energetic, tough and then that really carried over into the spring and now with what we’ve seen to this point in preseason.”
Murphy found the endzone in the Bills first preseason game against Carolina and nearly did again in the following game against the Browns. He also returned a punt 39 yards into Cleveland territory that set up a go-ahead field goal before halftime. Murphy feels he owes it to the team for bringing him back.
“They did trust me to come back and give me the opportunity to earn some reps,” said Murphy. “I just want to pay them back and take advantage of each rep and do the most that I can.”
Murphy is used to battling long odds. In high school, he was placed on the Freshman B team. During his junior year at Missouri, the Tigers listed him as the team’s 4th running back. Murphy overcame being the underdog then, and now he’ll have to do it again here with the Bills.
“Work ethic is something that I grew up learning,” said Murphy. “My parents instilled that in me when I was young. I’ve always been a smaller guy, so I just try to use my speed and my quickness, and show guys that I can play.”
Murphy knows it’s a long road to make the final roster. All he can do is continue to be ready to make plays when the Bills call his name.
“It’s the NFL so nothing is going to come easy,” said Murphy. “I take my time and prepare well because you never know when you gonna get the opportunity.”