Eagles Camp Notes: DeMarco Doesn’t Need the Work?
Murray touched the football 497 times in Dallas last season, a work rate that's just not tenable moving forward if Philadelphia wants multiple productive seasons out of its high-priced running back. But, Kelly and his lieutenant still won't admit they are carefully monitoring Murray's practice schedule, despite the fact that All-Pro has spent the majority of his time watching things during this training camp.
Murray has been held out of several practices and been limited in most others. He also didn’t play in last Sunday’s preseason opener against the Indianapolis Colts, and it's still up in the air whether he’ll play against the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday night. The bell cow was back Wednesday, however, for the first of three sessions against the Ravens in advance of the preseason encounter.
"We'll see, but I feel great," Murray said when asked if he'll play Saturday. "I'm very comfortable with myself. I'm getting a lot of great work in so it all depends on what (the coaches) want to do. They know what is best for the team."
And what's best for the team is Murray being there on Sept. 14 in Atlanta even if that means he's a bystander for much of August.
“He’s a veteran player,’’ Shurmur blurted after a series of questions concerning Murray. “He’ll get himself ready to go. And it will be within the structure that we have for him. We’re not as concerned about it as I feel this line of questioning (indicates).’’
“We had almost 2,000 reps in the spring that he was involved in,’’ Shurmur added. “We have a long line of running backs that need to get work. We’re just kind of balancing things out.”
The Eagles’ other new back, Ryan Mathews, who is expected to be Robin to Murray's Batman, has been the workhorse throughout camp, something that is likely to continue.
"I wouldn't put a number on (the reps needed)," Murray said. "Obviously you're out here practicing, you're out here working, but you definitely want to get a touch or two in the preseason just to get a feel for it."
The Eagles just might take Murray up on that because a touch or two is all the star running back is going to see until Philadelphia is playing for real.
(Listen to John McMullen discuss Wednesday's day at camp)
WEDNESDAY CAMP CHATTER:
*There was no music and plenty of huddling at Wednesday's practice, leading many to surmise John Harbaugh flexed a little Super Bowl muscle and got his way but that wasn't the case, according the Ravens' coach, who said his team was the visitor and acquiesced to the host's wishes. Perhaps Chip doesn't want people getting used to his tempo.
*Harbaugh, who made his bones in this league as Andy Reid's special teams coach, was very excited to be back in Philly, even waxing nostalgic about Veteran's Stadium and its plentiful number of rats and the happy, oversized cats that would eat them.
*There have been a few high-profile fights at some of the joint practices around the NFL this summer but things ran pretty smoothly today. There was a slight uprising between the Eagles' third-team offense and their counterparts on the Ravens' D but Tim Tebow played peacemaker. Also a Brandon Graham tackle (like every Kelly practice, tackling is off limits) of Baltimore fullback Kyle Juszcyk created a little hootin' and hollerin' but nothing more.
“We kind of made our statements up front and told (the players) we just didn’t want (fights) to happen,’’ Shurmur said. “We’re going to expect both teams to be professional and guard against it."
*Sam Bradford passed a big test today, although he's still wearing the red jersey. The Eagles' starting quarterback looked relatively sharp and came out of things no worse for wear.
“We feel he’s back," Shurmur said of Bradford. "We just want to see him go out and execute efficiently and move the team and get us in the end zone. I don't want to be trite but that’s what we want him to do."
*Second-year kicker Cody Parkey continues to struggle with consistency and missed three field goals in special teams' drills.
*Slot receiver Jordan Matthews took a hard hit from Ravens safety Will Hill and was visibly shaking his hand but was able to finish practice.
*DeMeco Ryans was back and confirmed his recent absences from practice as "maintenance days" for a veteran player returning from an Achilles injury.
*Safety Malcolm Jenkins was acting like the veteran he is, lobbying an official present from the sidelines during 7-on-7s. When on the field Jenkins and his running mate Walter Thurmond were used as interchangeable pieces. It remains to be seen if Thurmond can play in the box consistently, which would enable Jenkins to play the single-high position more often.
*Rookie CB Eric Rowe struggled a bit getting beaten badly on a fade by Joe Flacco and nondescript receiver Jeremy Butler. While in the slot Rowe didn't show the short-area quickness you need, especially against Baltimore's Michael Campanaro. Although all of Philadelphia's slot options seemed to have trouble dealing with the 5-foot-9, shifty Campanaro, perhaps because the Eagles don't have a comparable player to practice against.
*The Philadelphia defense also struggled at times handling the Ravens' underneath, combination routes. Too many moving parts for a back-seven still trying to develop chemistry.