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.
Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan told reporters Thursday he is "cautiously optimistic" that running back LeSean McCoy can return in time for the Bills' regular-season opener Sept. 13 against the Indianapolis Colts.
McCoy suffered a hamstring injury in a joint practice Tuesday with the Cleveland Browns. Ryan did not reveal the results of an MRI on McCoy's hamstring, but had said after Tuesday's practice that McCoy's hamstring was intact and that no separation from the bone occurred.
It’s safe to say that McCoy’s situation hasn’t improved. Sure, he’s going to a run-heavy system, so carries shouldn’t be a problem, but the Buffalo offense isn’t likely to be as efficient as Chip Kelly’s offense in Philadelphia. Throw in an offensive coordinator (Greg Roman) who isn’t known for utilizing his running backs in the passing game and it’s likely that McCoy’s red zone chances and targets will both decrease in 2015. Now he has a hamstring injury that could affect his Week 1 availability. We're steering clear of McCoy in the 2nd round.
Despite injuring his hamstring Tuesday, Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy is expected to be ready for the team's regular-season opener against the Indianapolis Colts, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
The 27-year-old McCoy strained his hamstring in training camp Tuesday and was set to undergo an MRI to determine its extent.
Bills coach Rex Ryan said McCoy's hamstring was intact and that no separation from the bone occurred.
We were already avoiding McCoy at his current price, and this hamstring injury only further dissuades us from drafting him in the 2nd round. Sure, McCoy is in a run-heavy system, so carries shouldn’t be a problem, but the Buffalo offense isn’t likely to be as efficient as Chip Kelly’s offense in Philadelphia. Throw in an offensive coordinator (Greg Roman) who isn’t known for utilizing his running backs in the passing game and it’s likely that McCoy’s red zone chances and targets will both decrease in 2015. We would assume Fred Jackson would be the main beneficiary if McCoy misses any games, but he's dealing with a hamstring injury of his own.
Bills running back LeSean McCoy limped off the practice field on Tuesday. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the initial diagnosis is that McCoy has a strained hamstring. The severity of the injury isn’t yet known. Hamstring injuries not sufficiently severe to require surgery will heal with rest. The challenge becomes giving them the rest they need to fully heal. For McCoy, the severity will determine the duration of the absence. And it could require the Bills to get some short-term help at the position, with plenty of reps to be distributed during practices and preseason games.
In an update, McCoy will have an MRI, but HC Rex Ryan said the hamstring was intact, which he called a "positive." Fred Jackson is also banged up and Karlos Williams was hospitalized with an unknown injury and was expected to miss a lot of time so the Bills are currently hurting at the RB position.
The Buffalo Bills have sustained several injuries to their deep group of players at running back, giving way to youth further down on the depth chart. Fred Jackson is sidelined with a hamstring injury while Anthony Dixon is also out with a calf ailment. Even LeSean McCoy has missed practice time.
In Jackson and Dixon's absence, Bryce Brown and rookie Karlos Williams have been asked to step up. For Brown, he's done just the opposite, fumbling three times in camp, one of which came during the team's scrimmage on Saturday. It was clear Rex Ryan took notice.
"The fumble was disappointing, to put it mildly," Ryan said via ESPN. "Because he was having a nice day, and then it was like ... every single team is going to be attacking that football. And you just can't have it. I don't care how many -- if you carry it 300 times, you have to hold on to that sucker. And that's what we're counting on as a team."
The quickest way to find yourself on the bench as a running back is to put the ball on the ground. Unsurprisingly, his fumbling issues have led Brown to tumble down the depth chart. In his place, the Bills will look to Williams to play a bigger role.
Brown has proved he's a talented back, but has had a fumbling issue dating back to his days with the Eagles. Williams is getting more work but likely still falls behind at least Jackson and McCoy when the games start. If injuries continue to be an issue, though, Williams could be a name to remember.
Bills coach Rex Ryan announced Friday that Jackson would miss a couple of weeks of practice with a hamstring injury. Hamstring injuries are notoriously tricky to recover from, especially ones that are serious enough to force a player out of action for weeks. The Bills have Bryce Brown and Boobie Dixon behind LeSean McCoy at running back, although Jackson had been taking the No. 2 team reps in camp thus far.
Running backs coach Anthony Lynn said he’d like to cut Jackson’s snaps/workload in half, so barring an injury to LeSean McCoy, don’t expect F-Jax to rack up 14-plus touches per game like he did in 2014. However, even if we slice his PPG in half (to 6.7 per game in PPR formats) and extrapolate over a full, 16-game season, we end up with RB4-type numbers. He has upside from there if anything happens to LeSean McCoy. We have a tough time believing that the Bills would cut Jackson after his versatile 1,026-yard season in 2014.
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.
"He’s just had a little toe … it’s not turf toe or anything like that," coach Rex Ryan said after practice Wednesday. "But that’s kind of a soreness/swelling type thing. It’s not something that’s really going to hamper him in the near future."
Toe injuries are tricky, so this is something to monitor in the coming weeks. If McCoy returns to practice quickly, it's probably nothing to worry about.
Sunday, July 26, 2015, 4:54pm
Bills WR Percy Harvin was widely seen as a valuable offseason addition. Though it has been a couple of years since he produced at an elite level, his talent to produce that way again is unquestioned. How he exactly fits in Greg Roman’s offense will be refined by Buffalo’s offensive staff through training camp and the preseason. What is a bit clearer is how he will provide a shot in the arm to a Bills offense looking to take a big step forward.
Big play threat
He has three kick returns for touchdowns in his career that have gone for over 100 yards. There’s no debating Percy Harvin’s game breaking ability as a return man. His longest play as a receiver in his career however, is just barely more than half the distance of those return touchdowns (53 yards).
Percy Harvin’s mere presence on the field is enough to draw attention. Provided Harvin’s receiving game continues to develop, it will give opponents a troubling dilemma. Where do they focus their attention when it comes to play calling?
Do they respect Harvin’s deep speed and roll coverage over the top so their cornerback doesn’t get burned? Do they simultaneously roll a safety to Sammy Watkins’ side of the field and play cover two and leave just seven men in the box for LeSean McCoy and the run game? Or do they roll the dice, try to blitz and only play single safety high and hope that deep safety correctly guesses where to provide help?
As determined as the offensive staff is to get Harvin’s game singularly focused on being a receiver, it doesn’t mean that Greg Roman’s creativity won’t enter the picture in a given week from time to time. It might only be a play here or there in a game. We may only see him line up somewhere new once or twice a month this season, but the threat is there and Harvin’s versatility can lead to unwanted surprises for Buffalo’s opponents.
This story comes from the Bills web site, so you may find it a bit ambitious for Harvin, who we rank 56th among our WRs. He's going in a lot of drafts as a mid-to-late round pick so owners are hoping to hit on him as depth guy who can at least turn into a consideration as a starter. The problem with Harvin will at least partly be the QB situation as well as a run-first offensive attack, but it sounds like the Bills want to try and be creative in terms of finding ways to get him the ball. He did have 51 receptions and 33 rushes in 13 games, missing two contests and getting two bye weeks after being traded from Seattle to the Jets.
Eagles writer Dave Spadaro: If I had to say one player who stood out, it would be running back DeMarco Murray. He is much more fluid as a pass catcher than I thought, and he's in tremendous shape and just looks like he "fits" into this offensive structure perfectly. The backfield is a must-see group with all of that talent.
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. Chip Kelly did not utilize McCoy much as a receiver last season.
Eagles beat writer was asked to predict how the team will divvy up the carries:
Eagles running backs had about 26 carries per game last season. Overall, the team had 474 rushing attempts, which ranked seventh in the NFL. I think there's a good chance those numbers could increase this season. Running backs coach Duce Staley has already said the offense wants to regain its identity, and that identity is a run-based spread.
My guess (and I reserve the right to change this in August!) is that Murray would get around 17 carries per game; Mathews would get seven; and Darren Sproles would get two.
Assuming Murray stays healthy the whole season, that would translate to 272 carries. Only four running backs in the NFL had more than that last season.
Eagles RB DeMarco Murray is drawing rave reviews during his first spring as an Eagle, including from running backs coach Duce Staley during his media availability with the rest of the Eagles' assistant coaches last week.
"He's a perfect fit for us," Staley said. "He's exactly what we want to do: full steam, downhill and full steam ahead. That's what we're preaching every day; one, two, three, four yards and a cloud of dust. And all the backs that we have are able to do that."
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 indicate that he won’t 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 on draft day.
Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur revealed the plan Wednesday although he declined to put a percentage on the way touches would be divvied up.
“They’re two really fine players,” Shurmur said at a coaches availability. “They’re two guys that have been starters in places that they’ve been and they’re going to come here and kind of share the role. I think that’s terrific that that’s their mindset. It shows us that you’ve got really, really fine players that understand it’s important to be a good teammate. Any time you can add good players to a unit you make yourself better because you need more than one to play the year.”
There are a variety of ways that the two players can 'share the role,' though this isn't the kind of talk that DeMarco Murray owners want to hear at this point in the offseason. We have Murray projected for 285 carries to Mathews' 132, which is approximately a 2-to-1 split.
McCoy is still a fantasy RB1, though he carries more risk since the Buffalo offense could struggle to score points. OC Greg Roman didn't use Frank Gore much in the passing game while in San Francisco, but Gore recently said that was more about Colin Kaepernick and what he was seeing than it was about Roman's offense. It remains to be seen how much McCoy will be used as a receiver, but given Roman's history, we're betting that he's an afterthought in the passing game.
While Bills running backs coach Anthony Lynn would like to see LeSean McCoy’s workload stay the same, he’d prefer if Fred Jackson’s was scaled back. Jackson played 548 snaps last season, a number Lynn said he’d like to see cut in half.
“I think he wore down a little bit at the end of the season,” Lynn said. “If we could take half of that off his plate, I think you’re going to see a fresher Fred Jackson and a more explosive Fred Jackson.”
We currently have Jackson projected to touch the ball 114 times after he racked up 207 touches in 14 games last season, so Lynn's expectations mostly jibe with our projections. As for McCoy, he's going to have a tough time matching the 340 touches he had in 2014 due to the potency and pace of the Philadelphia offense compared to the Buffalo offense. We do have McCoy projected to see 329 touches since OC Greg Roman and HC Rex Ryan both love to run the ball. Just don't expect McCoy's receptions to increase; Roman barely used the very capable Frank Gore in a pass-catching role while calling plays in San Francisco the last few seasons.
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