Wednesday, August 26, 2015, 4:15pm
DeMarco Murray was asked how he expects the rotation to play out. Will the RBs alternate series? Will they spell one another during a drive?
"I don't think it will be alternating series," Murray said. "But [Mathews] is a quality back, great guy, works extremely hard. I'm sure he'll get his fair share of touches. But I don't know how the rotation will be yet, we haven't touched on it."
Murray is unsure of how many snaps he'll get in Green Bay this Saturday, but expect his workload to increase in the dress rehearsal. Starters typically play an entire half, if not more, in the penultimate preseason game.
The Eagles like to run a lot of plays so it's possible Murray still gets a solid workload with perhaps Mathews getting 8-10 touches. Sproles could mix in but is expected to get most of his work in the passing, even though he proved to be a nice weapon running the ball last year. As long as the Eagles offense is clicking, Murray owners shouldn't worry too much about the Birds crowded backfield.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015, 10:10am
DeMarco Murray’s biggest schematic adjustment in coming from Dallas to Philadelphia is running out of the shotgun formation instead of getting the ball from a quarterback is who under center. It’s similar to how he played at Oklahoma, though, when he last took handoffs from Sam Bradford.
“We didn’t do much of it in Dallas, but I’ve done it in past,” Murray said. “Hopefully we’ll get more downhill runs and get in the home position, but I think just the way we run and the plays, it’s hard for teams to set on one guy, set on one formation, we have a lot of things.”
There are advantages and disadvantages. LeSean McCoy preferred taking handoffs when the quarterback was under center because he was 7 ½ yards deep and he said it helped with his vision. He had the running start in that scenario as opposed to in the shotgun, when McCoy said he started running sideways.
Murray said he actually gets to “see more of the field” when it’s a shotgun formation.
Murray suiting up in Week 1 is clearly the goal for the Eagles as well, as head coach Chip Kelly has admitted he is the reason the running back hasn't been taking part in many team drills.
"The only thing holding back DeMarco is me," Kelly said last week.
Murray increased his workload on Wednesday, taking first-team reps throughout the day against the Ravens. He looked sharp doing so, running hard and not having to spend anytime with trainers.
Murray had a career year in his fourth season, racking up 2,261 total yards and 13 touchdowns on 449 touches. He should get plenty of work in Philadelphia, though the signing of Ryan Mathews and the presence of Darren Sproles make it very unlikely that he’ll approach 450 touches in 2015. LeSean McCoy averaged 353 touches over the past two seasons, so that’s probably Murray’s ceiling if everyone stays healthy. He’ll hold low-end RB1 value, though the presence of Mathews and Sproles may make even that a stretch. The local beat writers are predicting a 50-30-15 split in carries among Murray, Mathews and Sproles. The history of 380-carry running backs isn't pretty when we look at the next season, but those players didn't have Chip Kelly's sports science program to lean on.
Murray sat out the game as the Eagles continued to tread lightly with a player who had 497 touches by the time the Cowboys were eliminated from the playoffs by the Packers. In an interview with Peter King of MMQB.com, coach Chip Kelly admitted that his approach to Murray this offseason has been fueled by concerns raised by the history of backs returning from a heavy workload in the previous season.
“I think there is a lot of validity to it,” Kelly said. “But how do you manage him going into a season? Our plan all along was to get another running back with him. I wanted to have two running backs, and that’s why we got Ryan [Mathews]. I don’t think you can have a guy carry it 370 to 400 times per season and be successful. We’re going to run it a lot — we always do — but we’ll have more than one guy doing it.”
Kelly hasn't really come out and said to the media that this has been his plan, which is fueling speculation there is more to the story - but that could be just how Chip wants it, for everyone to think Murray is hurt. It's pretty obvious the team is going to give Mathews his share of carries but the Birds run enough plays that Murray should put up his projected RB2 fantasy numbers. Mathews is looking like a pretty decent add for those who also grab Murray.
He’s not hurt. He’s not struggling with the playbook. He’s not dogging it.
Eagles RB DeMarco Murray will be ready on opening day, and that’s really all Duce Staley cares about.
"He will respond,” Staley said. “He will come back out here and he will be DeMarco Murray. …
“What you have to understand about DeMarco is that he's a true professional. He brings that professionalism to the game. He works hard. There's no doubt in that. We knew that before we signed him We did our due diligence as far as doing research on him. So we know what type of player we have.”
Murray has watched more practices than he’s participated in through the first two weeks of Eagles training camp, and at least judging from Saturday’s walk-through — which he didn’t participate in — it looks like he won’t play Sunday in the preseason opener against the Colts at the Linc.
The Eagles have explained some of Murray’s absences or limited participation by saying he was sick or dehydrated. Others have gone unexplained.
Head coach Chip Kelly has been vague about Murray, leading to a lot of speculation. Kelly did say Murray’s light preseason workload has something to do with his 497 touches last year, sixth-most in NFL history . Then again, Staley said Saturday that has nothing to do with the way the Eagles have brought Murray along slowly. While it still remains a bit of a mystery, the team is at least publicly ruling out injury.
Saturday, August 15, 2015, 12:13pm
The Eagles held their final walkthrough on Saturday, and although Murray was out on the field with a helmet, he did not take part in any of the team drills throughout the short practice.
A key sign that Murray won't play came at the end of practice, when the Eagles were practicing substitutions.
With the first-team offense on the field, it was Ryan Mathews who was the running back. When head coach Chip Kelly called for a substitution, it was Darren Sproles who went in, the story said. As far as those who follow the team know, the Birds are just being very careful with Murray and there is no injury.
Eagles RB Darren Sproles had just 40 receptions last season, which was his fewest number of catches since 2008. Coach Chip Kelly said in the offseason that he wants to get Sproles more involved in the passing game this season. “We would like to get him the ball steadily and consistently,’’ OC Pat Shurmur said. “He’s a unique player. He’s as good as any receiver you have. And then you can hand him the football. We just need to make sure we get him the ball, and we have a plan to do that. We’ve got to find that smooth mix between (DeMarco Murray), Darren and (Ryan Mathews). And nothing says we can’t put all three of them in there at the same time, which would be kind of cool.’’
On just 8.0 touches per game, Sproles was the #12 PPR running back through the first six weeks. From Week 9 on, he averaged 5.4 touches and was the #26 RB in PPR formats during that span. The news this offseason has been mixed for Sproles. The team traded away LeSean McCoy, but replaced him with both Murray and Mathews, so Sproles’s carries seem unlikely to increase. There have been reports of Sproles lining up at receiver in minicamp and OTAs, and if that carries into the regular season, he has a chance to reemerge as a viable PPR back in his 10th year.
Saturday, August 8, 2015, 12:47pm
“He’s sick,” Kelly said. “He’s doing full today. He was just sick. There’s a couple guys that were sick that have been in and out. Jordan Matthews was sick and missed walkthrough [Friday].
“There’s something going around. We’re just getting him back up to speed, and he’s full go today.”
Tight end Zach Ertz and linebacker Mychal Kendricks also returned to practice after sitting out on Friday.
“They just had a nagging something,” Kelly said. “They’re both back today.”
Even if Ryan Mathews was No. 2 to DeMarco Murray's No. 1, the distribution of carries is unlikely to be as disparate as it was with LeSean McCoy over the previous two seasons. McCoy logged more than 64 percent of the Eagles' carries. The closest a backup got to him was Bryce Brown's 15 percent of rushes in 2013.
Chip Kelly hasn't put a number on how he'll divvy up the touches. Darren Sproles is also part of the equation. But a 50-30-15 split among the top three running backs would be an early guess.
We currently project a 57-27-8 split among Murray, Mathews and Sproles, and it results in a lower-than-average ranking of Murray, at least in PPR formats. If it is indeed a 50-30-15 split, then Murray probably won't provide good return at his current draft position.
Two days later Chip Kelly explained why running back DeMarco Murray was not in team drills during Sunday's first training camp practice.
Apparently, the Eagles test every player every day for the dehydration levels and Murray came up, according to Kelly "a little high'' Sunday.
"It was a training staff decision,'' Kelly said Tuesday before the team's training session at Lincoln Financial Field. "Especially, with the way the weather has been, we didn't want to take any chances. It's not just for (Murray), we treat every player on a daily basis.''
That's the team's take, so it's good news for anyone who worried there was more to the story. Murray returned to practice on Monday.
Monday, August 3, 2015, 4:19pm
Eagles camp notes from Monday:
- Jordan Matthews gets my “Camper of the Day” award. Practices that limit contact tend to highlight the passing game and those mostly involved, but Matthews had a standout performance by any estimate. He did most of his damage from the slot. I think we’ll see more of Matthews on the outside than we did last year, but why limit his effectiveness when there probably isn’t another option as comparable on the roster? Most of his catches came from Sam Bradford and there were a variety.
- DeMarco Murray was back in action after sitting out team and 7-on-7 drills yesterday. He said it was a coach’s decision to limit his action on the first day of camp. I’m not sure why he would need to rest after a six-week layoff, but he looked fine on Monday. He didn’t seem to go 100 percent when he was involved, but after last season when he logged almost 500 touches, it doesn’t seem necessary for Murray to push himself this early.
- A day after taking all of the first team repetitions at quarterback, Bradford was under center for the majority. He looked a little more comfortable on Day 2.
- Mark Sanchez took his first series of snaps with the first team. I’m not sure that constitutes as a quarterback competition, but it’s a start. His best toss during the series was downfield to Huff on a comeback route. Working with the second team, Sanchez knew who would butter his bread. He kept going to Nelson Agholor on the outside. The rookie wide receiver continued to get the best of rookie corner Eric Rowe. Contact at the line is limited, so I wouldn’t make any assumptions about Rowe just yet, but Agholor has looked more than competent.
- Matt Barkley and Tim Tebow split third team reps again. If Kelly wants a pure quarterback at the third spot, the job is clearly Barkley’s. But if he wants someone that has an “X” factor or can be effective in zone read plays, then Tebow would seem to have the advantage.
On Monday, following the team's second practice, Murray addressed his absence -- and made it clear it wasn't his call.
"That's how it goes," Murray said. "I don't know whose decision it was. I was trying to do as much as I could."
In Murray's place with the first-team offense on Sunday was Darren Sproles, who is projected to be third on the depth chart behind Murray and Ryan Mathews. With Murray holding his helmet, many speculated an injury was holding him back, a theory the running back shot down on Monday, the story said. Murray added that he wanted to be out there, but the good news is it doesn't seem to be injury related.
Eagles running back DeMarco Murray was a virtual non-participant on Day 1 of training camp Sunday at the NovaCare Complex.
Among the Eagles' prized offseason additions, last season's rushing champion stretched with his teammates and took part in individual drills at the start of Sunday's practice but was limited to the role of a sideline spectator the rest of the day.
Murray did not take a single snap in seven-on-seven drills and was absent from every rep in full-team 11-on-11 drills as well.
"Who knows with him," An Eagles team source who requested anonymity said of Murray's conspicuous absence.
An Eagles team spokesman told NJ Advance Media that he was unaware of any injury to the running back.
Murray did fulfill his lone media obligation of the day -- a one-on-one interview with a national media outlet -- but did not speak to reporters. He is scheduled to talk at the podium after Monday's practice.
Kind of sounds like a strange situation with the comment from the unnamed source. We will continue to monitor the situation.
The search for DeMarco Murray’s replacement will go on without Darren McFadden practicing at the start of training camp. On Thursday, he was placed on the active/physically unable to perform list with a hamstring injury.
McFadden, 27, was dealing with the hamstring injury in organized team activities in June. He was limited then and doing rehab work on the side during competitive drills. McFadden can be removed from the active/PUP list once he is medically cleared. He can then practice immediately.
The soon-to-be 28-year-old McFadden hasn't cracked 3.5 YPC since the 2011 season, when he ran for 614 yards on 113 carries (5.4 YPC) in seven games. That's the rub with McFadden -- fantasy owners haven't been able to count on his durability. He has missed roughly a quarter of his team's games since entering the league. We believe he’ll serve as a change-of-pace/3rd-down back behind Joseph Randle.
Even though DeMarco Murray led the NFL in rushing last season (and carried the ball more times than any other player since 2006), Chip Kelly has said since the spring that he does not want the Eagles to rely on one running back as much as they did during the past two seasons. So expect Ryan Mathews to also have a big role in the offense.
“If you have multiple backs you don’t lose anything when you take one out, and I think we probably relied on one too much in the last couple of years,” Kelly said. “But I have great confidence in those other guys that when they go into the game you don’t have to change what you’re doing. Ryan and DeMarco are very similar in terms of how they run and what they’re doing so it’s almost like you think you catch your breath when you take DeMarco out of the game but then here comes Ryan, that’s going to be a real difficult task for people, I think.”
Murray had a career year in his fourth season, racking up 2,261 total yards and 13 touchdowns on 449 touches. He should get plenty of work in Philadelphia, though the signing of Ryan Mathews and the presence of Darren Sproles make it very unlikely that he’ll surpass 400 touches in 2015. LeSean McCoy averaged 353 touches over the past two seasons, so that’s probably Murray’s ceiling if everyone stays healthy. He should hold low-end RB1 value, though the presence of Mathews and Sproles may make even that a stretch.
- Page 1