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.
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.
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.
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.
RB DeMarco Murray will not be counted on to carry the full load for the Eagles like he did in Dallas, where he accounted for 77 percent of the team's total carries, outpacing the second-leading rusher, Randle, by 341 carries. The presence of Ryan Mathews, himself a two-time 1,000-yard rusher, and Darren Sproles should mitigate the workload placed on Murray.
Last year, among the three top running backs, the split on carries went 75 percent to McCoy, 14 percent to Sproles and 11 percent to Polk. It's hard not to envision HC Chip Kelly opting to creep those percentages closer to something like 55-60 percent for Murray, 25-30 percent for Mathews and the remaining touches for Sproles.
Conveniently enough, we project Murray for 58.1% of the touches, with Mathews checking in at 27.1% and Sproles getting the remaining 14.8%. The article also notes that among the seven running backs who carried the ball at least 380 times in a season (and also played the following year), only two played more than 12 games, and the overall YPC dropped from 4.60 YPC in the 380-plus carry seasons to 3.60 YPC the following year. Four of the seven running backs played fewer than nine games. It remains to be seen if Kelly's superior sports science program can help Murray buck this trend.
Beat writer Andrew Kulp projected a timeshare in the Eagles' backfield:
With DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews splitting up carries—and I do believe the distribution could be closer to 50/50—the Eagles can keep both fresh, not to mention are prepared in case one gets injured.
This is the concern with drafting Murray early -- just how much will Ryan Mathews play? We currently project Murray with 290 carries and 29 receptions (or 319 touches), with Mathews coming in at 138/11 (or 149 total touches). This is essentially a 2-to-1 split, and that makes Murray our #9 RB in standard formats. If Kulp's prediction comes true, Murray will be severely overdrafted in 2015.
Melvin Gordon gives the Chargers a home-run threat at running back. Gordon exceeded expectations during offseason work, which is impressive, considering goals were high for the Wisconsin product after he was selected in the first round of the draft as the replacement for the departed Ryan Mathews. However, Gordon has to take the next step in training camp, which means playing fast and physical, as well as keeping up with a fast-paced San Diego offense led by Philip Rivers.
The Chargers traded up to get Gordon, so we’d expect they’ll use him early and often in 2015. In fact, GM Tom Telesco used the phrase "impact player" 11 times in Gordon's introductory press conference. Ryan Mathews is gone, so it’s Gordon’s job to lose. He doesn’t have a lot of experience as a receiver, so we'd expect that Danny Woodhead still gets a lot of work on third down while Gordon establishes himself as a good weapon out of the backfield. This somewhat limits Gordon's upside since he doesn't project to be an every-down back as a rookie.
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.
Philly.com's Zach Berman on the Eagles' new running backs:
Don’t expect Murray to near that carry total this season. He will no doubt be the featured running back, but coach Chip Kelly wants carries to be shared. That’s where Ryan Mathews comes in.
Mathews appeared at first to be the consolation prize to missing out on Gore, but the Eagles still signed him. The former first-round pick is a talented rusher who has twice topped 1,000 yards, but injuries have also been an ongoing issue. He had a career-low 330 yards last season while playing on six games. I wouldn't count on him carrying the ball more than 220 times like he did in his 1,000-yard season (unless Murray gets injured), but he can find a sweet spot in the mid-100s.
We currently project Mathews for 132 carries for 561 yards, which jibes with the numbers that Berman had in mind. We project Murray for 285 carries (for 1,279 yards), which is a far cry from the 392 totes he saw last season. Berman went on to say that the team "needs to get" Darren Sproles more involved, but that may be tough since the team replaced LeSean McCoy with two new running backs.
Via Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego, the Chargers RB Melvin Gordon is already making an impression a day after signing his contract, even though teams aren’t able to do much resembling football at the moment.
“He did a nice job,” Chargers head coach Mike McCoy said. “We weren’t really going full speed out there, just really an introduction to make sure everyone’s got a hat on hat and guys are running to the right spot.
“But he makes a few of those moves and cuts, you understand why we took him where we did.”
The Chargers traded up to get Gordon, so we’d expect they’ll use him early and often in 2015. In fact, GM Tom Telesco used the phrase "impact player" 11 times in Gordon's introductory press conference. Ryan Mathews is gone, so it’s Gordon’s job to lose. He doesn’t have a lot of experience as a receiver, so we'd expect that Danny Woodhead still gets a lot of work on third down while Gordon establishes himself as a good weapon out of the backfield. Given Todd Gurley’s ACL recovery, we'd also expect that Gordon will be the first rookie running back off the board.
“The really, really talented ones are going to get drafted high. A top back is going to touch the ball 15 to 20 times a game, at least, a top receiver maybe eight or nine. You’ve got to have one.
“And I’ve always prescribed to the theory that you’ve got to have more than one of them. Melvin gives us that dynamic -- he can make the big play (which Mathews, whose longest run from scrimmage was 51 yards, his second-longest 39, could not). We’ve been a long-drive offense.”
The Chargers traded up to get Gordon, so we’d expect they’ll use him early and often in 2015. In fact, Telesco used the phrase "impact player" 11 times in Gordon's introductory press conference. Ryan Mathews is gone, so it’s Gordon’s job to lose. He doesn’t have a lot of experience as a receiver, so we'd expect that Danny Woodhead still gets a lot of work on third down while Gordon establishes himself as a good weapon out of the backfield. Given Todd Gurley’s ACL recovery, we'd also expect that Gordon will be the first rookie running back off the board (in the 3rd round?).
Thursday, April 9, 2015, 10:25am
According to Paul Dehner of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Bengals are expected to re-sign the veteran running back later today.
The Bengals like Peerman’s ability on special teams, as he has just 64 carries in his five seasons there.
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