News emerged a few hours ago that DeMarco Murray left practice with a hamstring injury and will need an MRI Scan tomorrow. Whilst there is no word on how serious this is, he has told teammates that it’s only minor. However, if the injury sees last years rushing leader sidelined for a few weeks, here’s how it can actually benefit one of the most under performing backfields in the league.
At the moment, DeMarco Murray is struggling intensely. Despite playing with all the heart in the world against his former team he simply couldn’t catch a break. A lot of that was down to an O-Line that was over-run all night but there’s another reason why.
Chip Kelly traded LeSean Mccoy as the running back didn’t fit his style of play, he wasn’t the running back that Kelly was looking for. So, instead he got the best North-South runner in the league in DeMarco Murray. The difference between the two running backs? LeSean McCoy charges up to the O-Line and becomes incredibly slippery, creating holes and dodging tackles. DeMarco Murray NEEDS a hole to run through..if that hole isn’t there..we see exactly what happened against Dallas.
The Eagles have struggled to run the ball out of the Shotgun for a while, but if your running back is an elite pole runner and can’t get through the O-Line…you surely change something so he can. Instead what we are seeing are the SAME sweep plays that McCoy used to run, the SAME outside runs and NO option play. Not only does this show lack of faith in Bradford’s ability to run the ball (for good reason) but it’s preventing one of the most explosive backs in the league from igniting because you refuse to change the system.
If you trade away one style of running back for another purely for the way they attack the trenches then surely one would think that Chip Kelly would change something to benefit Murray so he can fullfil his potential in Philadelphia. No. Instead, we’re seeing former teammates clatter him time after time as Chip fails to alter his playbook to give his O-Line a much needed advantage.
So why does this injury help the Eagles if serious? Darren Sproles is just as/if not more slippery than LeSean McCoy and is someone who can actually benefit from the current playbook. He’s had plenty of experience doing so and is small enough to make the rushers miss. Ryan Matthews meanwhile is the perfect blend of the two with some receiving capabilities mixed in. So on paper, if the reps fall to Matthews then the Eagles have a better “suited” running back to their current scheme. This may not be the case and only time will tell, but if Chip is going to change absolutely nothing to help DeMarco Murray, a solid outing from a more versatile running back like Matthews may just help him see the error of his ways and not only that, but finally just finally give this Eagles Offense some momentum.