DeMarco Gets Ready for Dallas Week
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — There will be a first on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
Behind Dallas' powerful offensive line last season Murray piled up 1,845 yards but the Cowboys let the All-Pro walk, ostensibly deciding they could only pay one of their superstars getting ready to hit the open market and choosing stud wide receiver Dez Bryant, who will be sidelined Sunday with a broken foot.
Despite that snub, there is no ill will for Murray, who still has many friends on the Cowboys.
(Listen to ESPN.com NFL Nation Eagles reporter Phil Sheridan discuss Murray's role)
"Not from my end at least,'' Murray claimed when meeting the media after Wednesday's practice at the NovaCare Complex. "This is a true business. I understand the business aspect of the NFL. It's all about finding guys right for your system.
"I'm here. This is the best place for me. I want to be here. And this is the team that wanted me."
Maybe Philadelphia is the team that wanted Murray but "best place" is still a debate.
Murray struggled mightily in his Eagles debut on Monday night, managing just nine yards on eight carries in a 26-24 setback at Atlanta, a long way from the numbers the Oklahoma product used to put up behind a Dallas moving company featuring three different Pro Bowl level performers in left tackle Tyron Smith, center Travis Frederick and right guard Zack Martin.
"We're obviously coming off a disappointing loss, watched the film, did some good things, did some bad things and have to make some corrections," Murray understated.
Plenty have placed the blame for the poor running game against the Falcons on the interior of the offensive line, which features two new starters at guard in Allen Barbre and Andrew Gardner.
A second look at the film says Barbre certainly struggled as did star center Jason Kelce but Gardner was actually one of the better offensive performers of the night for Philadelphia, flashing the consistency from play to play that Chip Kelly has claimed is his strength.
Barbre on the other hand was overmatched against the interior of the Atlanta defensive line and Kelce, while making a few splash plays with his athleticism while pulling, had one of his poorer games.
Kelly also turned his play calling away from the running game after falling behind by three scores, 20-3, at intermission.
"I think part of it was we got away from it," Kelly admitted. "We called a ton of passes in the second half, but we were down 20-3. It’s a three-score game at that point and we’re trying to get back into it. We also felt our match-ups inside, whether it be our tight ends or our running backs or our inside receivers, were really good for us to move the football.
"To us, running the ball or throwing the ball, it doesn’t matter. We’re equal-opportunity ball movers."
Equal opportunity or not, it would be nice to get an 1,800-yard runner on the right track and with Dallas looming, it's conceivable Murray could start pressing a bit.
"I think DeMarco’s a very grounded individual," Kelly said when discussing the emotion of Murray facing his old team. "He’s pretty consistent in his approach every day when he’s here; he’s not an up-and-down guy. I think sometimes it just depends on the individual. He’s been fine. We’ll monitor him like we monitor all of our players this week, but I haven’t seen a change in him."
Murray seconded that.
"I'm not worried about it," the ex-Cowboy said. "This is week two and I'm going to prepare the same way I always do both mentally and physically. I'm not going to go out and do anything special. This is just another opponent. I'm really not looking at it any other way. But they have a good team and it's a huge challenge.
"I've moved on a long time ago."
-The Eagles did indeed bring back Julian Vandervelde as the replacement for injured backup center David Molk, who was placed on injured reserve after tearing a biceps muscle in Atlanta. Vandervelde was thrilled to be back and joked at his locker that defensive end Cedric Thornton didn't even know he was gone.
-Philadelphia also signed defensive end Brandon Bair, who was inactive against the Falcons, to a one-year contract extension, and waived/injured practice squad defensive end Brian Mihalik with a high ankle sprain, replacing him with tight end Connor Hamlett.
The 6-foot-9 Mihalik was a seventh-round pick this year while Hamlett was a rookie free agent out of Oregon State originally signed by Jacksonville. He has a history of knee problems undergoing three surgeries in 2013 to repair meniscus damage.
- Every player was able to practice Wednesday except for special teams standout Seyi Ajirotutu, who is still in the NFL's concussion protocol after suffering a head injury Monday.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen