Bill Belichick Says Patriots’ Versatile Lineman Could Play Offense and Defense

Getty Bill Belichick

Sometimes, all a player needs is a change to make his mark. The New England Patriots are hoping that’s the case with Bill Murray.

The 25-year-old was originally signed by the Patriots in 2021 as an undrafted rookie free agent out of William & Mary as a defensive lineman. New England is working on switching Murray to the other side of the football this offseason.

Why Was Bill Murray Switched From Offense to Defense?

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was asked why the team elected to move Murray from defense to offense.

“Thought he’d be a good fit over there,” Belichick told reporters Thursday. “He has a lot of good traits we look for in an offensive lineman. We’ve talked about it before at other points in time during his career and just felt like this is a good opportunity for him.”

Murray is listed at 6-foot-4, 280 pounds, and according to him, he hasn’t had to put on weight up to now. There is a good chance he’s a little heftier now that the team is attempting to make him an offensive lineman. Finding a player in the NFL who plays the O-Line at less than 300 pounds is tough.

Perhaps Murray hasn’t gained weight because the Patriots would still like to maintain the flexibility to move him back to the defensive line if needed. Belichick said he believed that was possible based on Murray’s intelligence and understanding of their defensive philosophy.

Belichick hints Murray could even play on both sides of the ball.

“And maybe somewhere along the line there’s some type of combination, but right now he’s an offensive lineman and we’ve worked him there exclusively,” Belichick said.

How Has Bill Murray Handled the Switch?

If Murray fails in his attempt to make the 53-man roster as an offensive lineman, it won’t be because of a lack of effort. Murray told reporters while wearing the No. 62 jersey, “I’m going to give it everything I got.” He mentioned, “it’s a whole new position; it’s very tough.”

Murray said he was excited about the opportunity, but he clearly understands this change probably gives him his best chance at making the roster.

Murray has had to get into position mentally and physically for this new assignment.

Who Else Might Be Affected By the Switch?

Based on Murray’s answers and his focus on fundamentals, it doesn’t appear that Murray is a major threat to unseat guys ahead of him on the depth chart before this change. He’s still learning the basics of being an offensive lineman.

As someone potentially tasked with protecting the Patriots’ franchise quarterback Mac Jones, Murray isn’t likely to be on the field until he’s absolutely ready.

Does This Improve Murray’s Chances of Making the 53-Man Roster?

Barring a massive jump in understanding what’s expected of him as an offensive lineman, Murray doesn’t seem like a guy destined to make the 53-man roster this year–at least not in that role alone. However, the Patriots coaching staff obviously likes him and believes in his football character. If that weren’t the case, he probably wouldn’t have been allowed to switch positions. It also should be recognized Belichick mentioned the possibility of Murray playing on both sides of the ball.

Murray may secure a spot on the practice squad as he had last season, if nothing else. The Patriots seem likely to continue to try to develop him into a productive, NFL-level offensive lineman.

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