Source: DeMarco Murray ‘Addressed Frustrations’ About Role to Lurie
One of the Eagles most expensive offseason additions stood watching late as the Eagles tried to run the clock out as Kenjon Barner fumbled the football.DeMarco Murray got out-carried by both Darren Sproles and Barner in Sunday's upset of the Patriots and now ESPN's Ed Werder reports Murray "addressed frustrations" with his role in the offense in a meeting with owner Jeffrey Lurie.
In a tweet by Werder, who said Murray did not want to cause a scene, by bypassing the coach to speak with the owner, that might have already happened now that it's yet another in-house Eagle issue out-in-the-open.
The running back duo no one saw controling the game took a step toward saving the season on the same day the player Philadelphia signed in the offseason to pound out late game wins stood and watched.
After a game in which Sproles played 35 snaps and saw 19 touches, and Barner saw almost as much action as Murray with 12 snaps, Chip Kelly said after the game Murray's lack of involvement was game-plan specific.
"DeMarco fits in the same way," Kelly explained after the game. "We have three running backs right now that we felt were productive. We had a couple of game plans, there were some things we were trying to do with the big linebackers and with [RB] Darren [Sproles] and [RB] Kenjon [Barner], but he fits in."
And just like that, the Eagles are facing a most unexpected uncertainty at one of the most important positions on Chip Kelly's team: Who's best suited to carry the Eagles as they try to make a run the playoffs?
The bad news: It might not be Murray. He played just 14-of-61 snaps Week 13 against the Patriots. While Murray didn't speculate on the likelihood Murray's snaps will continue to plummet, he didn't rule it out, either.
"Each week we look at who is available and we put a game plan together against the team we are playing," Kelly stated. "So I don't know how much more plainly I can say that to you."
The good news for Philadelphia: The team has multiple backs who look capable of carrying the load that was supposed to lean on heavily on Murray. In fact, it was impossible to watch Sproles and Barner, and think about how Mathews will fit in when he is ready to return to action without wondering whether the pecking order may change sooner rather than later.
"I think everything is a weekly basis depending on who we are matched up with," Kellt continue to go with when pressed on his running back situation. "Who is healthy has a lot to do with it. Where does [RB] Ryan [Mathews] fit in when Ryan gets back healthy? But it's a good problem to have when you have some backs that when you used all three of them, all three of them are productive for you. Again, it's always, as you figure out the week, who you're playing and what you've got available to you. That's kind of how we'll go with that."
Diplomatic. But Murray tallied 19.8 carries per game during a five-week stretch earlier this year but that average has dipped to 11.7 over his last three outings. .
He was brought here with the thought that his straight ahead one-cut physical style would help the offense move the chains. He wasn't explosive, but he was a guy who finished runs and in the process, finished off defenses.
To this point it hasn't worked and maybe Kelly the coach is finally ready to move on from Kelly the GM's mistake.
"We have to do what's the best thing for the Philadelphia Eagles," Kelly admitted. "So we are not trying to win a rushing championship or a passing championship or a receiving championship or anything from that stretch of the imagination. We are just trying to win football games.
Murray was supposed to be the kind of guy who'll choose to stay in bounds to deliver a lick rather than stepping out to avoid one. It's a mentality embodied by Murray during his 1,845 yard season in Dallas, and while it's unfair to compare Murray to the Sproles, Barner and Mathews who gained more than 1,255 yards in San Diego, it was impossible to watch the style in which they ran in this offense on Sunday without using that as a reference point.
"When Darren has the ball in his hands," Kelly said about Sproles, who he admitted the team made a conscience effort to get the ball to more. "Good things happen."
"I think it helps when you have that youth aspect of it that's really pushing," Kelly said when talking about Barner's role.
That is exactly what Murray should be worried about, and people were worried about since he was acquired from Dallas, the amount of carries he logged last season wearing him down. And entering this season, Murray's longevity has been a source of speculation with people wondering whether a running back who administered and absorbed so much punishment would continue to thrive this season.
The bill may be coming due already in that regard. Sunday was the third game in a row Murray's carries have decreased.
But even as Philadelphia's situation at running back was cast into doubt, the promise that Kelly's game-plan showed Sunday helped ease the concerns that he might allow Kelly the GM play the wrong guy.
"Nothing's set in stone;" Kelly said. "That you continue to show us that you could help us and be productive."
We can only hope his actions speak louder than words and he sticks with Sproles and Barner and Mathews when he is ready to return.