Coming off a stellar 2014 season, DeMarco Murray’s numbers weren’t nearly as impressive last season with the Eagles, where he had few opportunities in an offense that wasn’t designed to take advantage of his strengths. The Titans plan to put Murray to work, and they’ve love how he’s handled himself over the last few months. Murray has looked good on the field, and he’s also spoken up and provided leadership. The expectation is he’ll return to form in 2016, and be the team’s workhorse in the backfield.
Related players: Derrick Henry
It’s fair to wonder if Murray’s best years are behind him after his disappointing season in Philadelphia (193 carries for 702 yards and six touchdowns). His 3.6 YPC was a full 1.1 YPC less than his 2014 average in his epic season with the Cowboys. Now he joins a Tennessee team that may have trouble staying in a run-heavy game script, and he’ll have to fend off 2nd-round pick Derrick Henry.
That may sound like a confusing statement, but it's not. Elliott is going to help Dallas' defense greatly with his ability to keep it off the field. Much like DeMarco Murray did in 2014, Elliott is going to carry the load, take pressure off of quarterback Tony Romo, and allow the defense to get plenty of rest throughout games.
"He's definitely a three-tool player that can just play on every single down," safety Barry Church said on Sirius XM NFL Radio. "And it helps out the defense a lot. It takes up our play downs by a lot. That also happened in 2014 when we had DeMarco Murray. He was punishing defenses and we were three-and-out here, three-and-out there, and we were fresh in the fourth quarter. That's how we won all of our games, by getting takeaways in the fourth quarter, but that was because we were fresh."
Church added in the piece the Cowboys could return to their 2014 form of grounding and pounding, and with an aging Romo at QB, the strategy makes sense. Couple that with a very good O-line, and it's easy to see why Elliot ranks fourth on our RB list coming into this season. With Darren McFadden's injury, he's on pace to get RB1 touches.
A year ago, Joseph Randle was preparing for his first year as the starting tailback of the Dallas Cowboys, taking over the job from DeMarco Murray. Now, Randle is moving closer and closer to an extended stay in prison.
Via TMZ, a Kansas judge has found Randle to be mentally competent to stand trial on felony charges arising from a beer-pong game gone bad.
Randle allegedly reacted to whatever happened during the game by attacking guests at a party in Kansas and then hitting multiple people with his car.
Randle remains in custody, and a competency exam resulted in a finding that Randle is mentally capable to participate in a trial.
Titans running backs coach Sylvester Croom is sold on veteran running back DeMarco Murray.
He loves his work ethic, his leadership skills, and his ability. He’s been blown away by what he’s seen this offseason.
“He’s a coach’s dream,’’ Croom said of Murray.
It’s fair to wonder if Murray’s best years are behind him after his disappointing season in Philadelphia (193 carries for 702 yards and six touchdowns). His 3.6 YPC was a full 1.1 YPC less than his 2014 average in his epic season with the Cowboys. Now he joins a Tennessee team that may have trouble staying in a run-heavy game script, and he’ll have to fend off 2nd-round pick Derrick Henry. But it's good to hear that he's off to a good start.
David Helman of DallasCowboys.com:
I don’t think it’s even a question that Ezekiel Elliott will be first string, and I’d say that even if Darren McFadden was 100 percent healthy. To your second point, I don’t think “concerned” is the word I’d use, but it’s definitely something I’d be mindful of. DeMarco Murray got 83 percent of the carries for this team in 2014, and he finished with more than 400 total touches. That’s a tad much for anyone, let alone a rookie. Fortunately, the Cowboys have vastly superior depth at the position this year. I think Zeke will finish with roughly 280-300 carries, which would put him right around 18-20 per game. That should leave plenty of carries for Alfred Morris and McFadden to get involved.
It's doubtful that the Cowboys drafted Elliott #4 overall to let him sit behind McFadden and/or Morris as a rookie. As long as he doesn't fall on his face, he should be the workhorse, with McFadden and Morris sprinkling in as change-of-pace backs. McFadden’s offseason injury only serves to help Elliott’s chances of RB1 touches.
Following a disappointing season with the Philadelphia Eagles in a system that didn’t seem to fit DeMarco Murray’s skills, the running back was asked on The Jim Rome Show if he believes Mike Mularkey’s offense in Tennessee is a better fit for him. He answered, “I do. It’s strictly downhill and that’s what I’ve been accustomed to my entire life. Nothing against last year or what happened, it just didn’t work out, but I’m very excited about this upcoming season and looking forward to it.”
“I think I’ve said it before: He clearly has a role here,’’ Mularkey said of McCluster. “The offense is multi-faceted, and he will be parts of many different packages to try and attack defenses.”
If McCluster has a sizable role in the passing game, it will put a dent in the upside of DeMarco Murray, who is a solid receiver out of the backfield.
So, what’s Titans offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie’s theory on running backs, and division of carries?
“I believe in just doing whatever we have to do, whatever is necessary to win the game,’’ Robiskie said. “Obviously we’ll have it situated going into the game, and figuring, ‘Hey, we want to go this way or go that way.’ If we get to going in the game and some guy gets the hot hand and that’s what it takes to win the game then that is what we are going to do.
“We are not going to sit down before the game and say, ‘So and so has to have 20 carries, or he has to touch it 25 times,’’’ Robiskie said. “We are going to go into the game and we’ll run the offense and try and get it called and try and execute it and whatever we feel we need to get done to win the game, that’s what we’re going to get done. But we don’t sit down and structure, so and so has to have 25 carries, so and so has to get 30 carries.”
If a certain guy gets hot, with a smile, Robiskie said, “I wouldn’t be afraid to give him 70 (carries). If I hand it to him and he keeps running for touchdowns, I’ll keep handing it to him.”
This doesn't sound particularly good for Murray, who didn't run the ball very well while in Philadelphia. He'll have to fend off Henry, so this is shaping up to be an unpredictable running game.
The plan is for Murray to be the starter, and to get the bulk of the carries. And he’s been impressive so far. I expect him to have success. But henry is going to get his share of carries as well, and you know how this works – if one guy is tearing it up, he’ll get more opportunities. We’ll just see how things play out.
Murray's stock took a hit when the Titans curiously spent a second round pick on Henry. He should still be a good bet for 300 carries, provided he stays healthy, but he'll have to outplay Henry to keep his job.
The idea had already crossed Walker's mind.
“I am pretty sure,’’ Walker said. “When you have a threat like that, and you have a tight end threat, if I am on the field at all times blocking and running routes, I think that gives us a mismatch on the field. Defenses won’t know what is going on, and that just gives you another opportunity to put points on the board.”
The Titans were 13th in pass % (percentage of pass attempts of total called plays), and that number is likely to fall with the addition of DeMarco Murray. Tennessee was 27th in total plays, so there is plenty of room for improvement. The team will have to run more plays if Walker hopes to see the same workload.
“DeMarco is a premium back in this league, and I have admired his running style from afar for a long time,” Robinson said in a statement formally announcing the trade. “We are expecting him to embody all that we want to be about as a team moving forward — tough, dependable and team-first. He will be a workhorse for us and his presence in our offense will help everyone around him.”
Murray seems to have his eyes on that kind of role in the offense. He said in a statement that he’s willing to do anything the Titans ask, “whether it is carrying the ball 20 times, 30 times, whatever.”
As we stated earlier when the trade news broke, this puts a damper on the fantasy value of David Cobb as well as Antonio Andrews and Bishop Sankey. Murray is considered a volume rusher and seems poised to get a big workload, however the Titans OL has struggled over the past few seasons.
ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported the move, which won't become official until Wednesday.
Murray altered his contract to accommodate the trade, but he did not lose his $21 million in guaranteed money, per Rapoport, according to a source informed of the deal.
This would seem to solve the Titans' problem at running back and kills any positive offseason buzz for David Cobb. The Titans have struggled to run the ball in recent years, but Murray will be an upgrade at the position. He'll likely be drafted as a middle-of-the-road RB2 in August. In Philadelphia, it's a boon to Ryan Mathews' value, provided he stays put.
DeMarco Murray’s role in the Philadelphia Eagles’ offense has been shrinking for weeks. On Sunday night, it disappeared almost completely.
Murray, who signed a five-year, $40 million contract in the offseason, carried the ball just twice against the Arizona Cardinals and gained 3 yards.
The most noticeable time he wasn't on the field was a 4th-and-1 play where the Eagles went for it. The broadcast team noted Murray's record of success in the past in that situation, but the Eagles turned to Ryan Mathews instead and he was stuffed for no gain. Murray is a risky play heading into Week 16. Mathews did fumble twice in this game so it's really anyone's guess as to how the workload will be split. The Eagles are still alive for the division but need to win out, so it's hard to imagine the team going back to Murray in a must-win game if they feel he's not a good fit for the offense.
Murray carried the ball 11 times for 34 yards Sunday after complaining about his playing time and role in the offense to owner Jeffrey Lurie on the flight back to Philadelphia following a Week 13 win over the New England Patriots.
Following that impromptu conversation, according to ESPN NFL insider Adam Caplan, Murray met with head coach Chip Kelly.
Despite being guaranteed $18 million through next season as part of a $40 million contract Murray signed during the offseason, it is becoming more evident that at least for the remainder of this season the league's defending rushing champion will be nothing more than a member of a backfield by committee.
As the story said, Murray's results on the field have done little to convince either Kelly or the coaching staff that he is deserving of being the feature back after 13 weeks. So far this season Murray has only rushed for 603 yards while averaging 3.5 yards per carry.
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.
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