Wednesday, July 20, 2016, 12:43pm
Darren Sproles missed the voluntary portion of Eagles offseason workouts. The coaching staff genuinely didn't seem to to be too concerned about that. Unlike Ryan Mathews, Sproles is a very good fit for an offense that plans on using its backs heavily in the passing game.
Expect Sproles to used more creatively in Pederson's offense than he was in Chip Kelly's, but likely only for one year, as Sproles is 33 years old and in the final year of his deal.
Sproles is always worth a look in the later rounds of PPR drafts. It sounds as if he'll have a sizable role in the offense.
Owner Jim Irsay had been openly pining for an elusive Darren Sproles-style satellite back. That's the role offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski dangled in front of Ferguson in a post-draft recruiting pitch.
With the underwhelming quartet of Robert Turbin, Jordan Todman, Trey Williams and Tyler Varga behind 33-year-old starter Frank Gore, Ferguson used offseason practices to climb the depth chart and make a lasting impression on the coaching staff.
"It's just in shorts, but he looks really good," coach Chuck Pagano said last week as the Colts wrapped up minicamp. "He's smart. He picks things up in a hurry. He's very, very athletic. He's a great receiver out of the back field. We can split him wide, we can displace him formationally. He's a mismatch out in space. He's got juice. He can go. He's got great vision."
We like Frank Gore as a value pick this year, but Ferguson could surprise in PPR formats even if Gore stays healthy.
It looks like we’re going to have another running-back-by-committee season in Philadelphia. While Ryan Mathews got the bulk of first-team reps this spring, he also shared them with Kenjon Barner and Darren Sproles. The team also has fifth-rounder Wendell Smallwood.
“Well, you go in thinking that one guy can handle the load,” HC Doug Pederson said. “If that's Ryan, he can handle all the stuff and the pounding. But with the guys we have, with the depth we have at that position, Darren is obviously a big part of that and now with Wendell [RB Wendell Smallwood] coming on, I think it could be a little bit of a running back by committee.”
This doesn't worry us, since Mathews appears to be one of the better values at the running back position even with a conservative projection of touches. He's ranked 17th in standard and 21st in PPR formats, and that's only with 240 touches, which is very reasonable as the lead back in a committee. Mathews' career production (4.5 YPC) and 2015 production (5.0 YPC) allow him to generate yards on fewer touches.
Eagles coach Chip Kelly has finally begun to realize that DeMarco Murray, his prized free-agent signing, is not a good fit in his offense. But Kelly is still giving Murray more touches than his production warrants.
In Sunday’s win over the Bills, Murray actually got plenty of touches: Murray had 11 carries for 34 yards, plus two catches for three yards.
That continues a trend that has been going on all season: Murray is getting the ball a lot and not doing much of anything with it. Murray has 174 carries for 603 yards this season, an average of 3.5 yards a carry. Murray’s average is by far the worst on the team: Ryan Mathews averages 5.3 yards per carry with 465 yards on 87 carries, Kenjon Barner averages 4.6 yards a carry with 106 yards on 23 carries and Darren Sproles averages 4.0 yards a carry with 275 yards on 69 carries.
There were reports that Murray was going to be inactive or reduced to the team's RB4 in Week 14, but that wasn't the case. Instead, it was worse for fantasy owners as Mathews, Murray and Sproles seemed to split up the workload. This is going to be a tricky situation going forward. Mathews is probably the best fit for a full workload and has often produced with more with less touches than he got this week. But without a full workload, he'll still have some risks going forward.
His previous low came in Week 4, when he had just 25 snaps against the Washington Redskins, but the game flow dictated that one. With the Eagles falling behind, they turned to their passing down backs. In Week 13, Murray's low snap count was part of the plan.
Head coach Chip Kelly explained that based on the matchup, it made more sense to use his smaller running backs -- Darren Sproles and Kenjon Barner. However, he also added that Sproles' ability to create positive plays consistently helped him stay on the field throughout the game.
This will be interesting to watch the rest of the season. The Eagles made some changes coming into this game after three-straight losses, and it was clear the speed of Sproles and Barner worked better on the sweep plays the team loves to run. The Birds also scored three special team and defensive TDs which limited the offensive snaps, but it's been pretty clear this season Murray isn't a great fit in this offense. Also keep in mind Ryan Mathews missed this game with a concussion and has had more success than Murray this season. The return of Mathews could also keep Murray's snap total low going forward.
Friday, December 4, 2015, 6:28pm
Thursday, December 3, 2015, 5:56pm
Wednesday, December 2, 2015, 6:12pm
Friday, November 20, 2015, 6:29pm
Thursday, November 19, 2015, 5:53pm
Wednesday, November 18, 2015, 6:07pm
Thursday, November 5, 2015, 6:20pm
Eagles RB Ryan Mathews (groin) missed practice Thursday after taking limited reps Wednesday. This is a downgrade from Wednesday, so not a good sign. If he’s out, it’s a bump for DeMarco Murray and Darren Sproles.
Now it's time to figure out if he will remain in the lead role, or go back to being a part of DeMarco Murray's supporting cast.
"I have no idea," Eagles head coach Chip Kelly said Monday. "That's not a concern for any of us."
Mathews rushed for 108 yards on 25 carries in the team's win Sunday over the New York Jets, taking over Murray's job while the starting running back was on the sideline due to a hamstring injury.
"We ran the ball a little bit more," Kelly said. "That was what we were trying to do against (the Jets)."
The story went on to say Mathews looks far more decisive with his reads and cuts than Murray has this season. The backup-turned-starter also looked quicker getting to the edge. Which is why based on the stat sheet, and to anyone watching the game, it would be easy to draw the conclusion that Mathews might be a better fit for the Eagles' offense than Murray, the running back they paid $40 million to this offseason. Kelly denied that Murray isn't a good fit but his hamstring issue will be a question heading into Week 4.
Friday, September 25, 2015, 7:02pm
Eagles RB DeMarco Murray (hamstring, questionable) returned to take full practice reps Friday after missing practice Thursday and is questionable for Week 3. Ashley Fox of ESPN reported that Murray is expected to play in Week 3. Murray injured the hamstring in Wednesday's practice. Remember, this was one of the concerns with Murray coming into the season. Running backs don't usually hold up the season following a massive workload, but there was some optimism since he's playing for Chip Kelly, who is known to have a great training staff. If Murray can't play in Week 3, Ryan Mathews is a good bet for 12-15 touches as the Eagles' RB1, but the role of Darren Sproles would expand as well. The Eagles play early on Sunday.
Thursday, September 24, 2015, 6:16pm
Eagles RB DeMarco Murray (hamstring) missed practice Thursday after taking limited reps Wednesday. Murray injured the hamstring in Wednesday's practice. Remember, this was one of the concerns with Murray coming into the season. Running backs don't usually hold up the season following a massive workload, but there was some optimism since he's playing for Chip Kelly, who is known to have a great training staff. If Murray can't play in Week 3, Ryan Mathews is a good bet for 12-15 touches as the Eagles' RB1, but the role of Darren Sproles would expand as well.
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