It was announced earlier that DeMarco Murray is likely to start against the Redskins later today when the two teams meet at FedEx Field. Murray is still listed as questionable but according to sources is going to see some game action.
Despite being listed as questionable, Eagles RB DeMarco Murray is expected to play today vs. Washington, per league source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 4, 2015
Now whilst this on the surface is a positive that Murray is back to full fitness, it could be a vision into the future for the Eagles run game. Why?
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it:
There’s an old saying when it comes to sports, “always go with the hot hand” and after becoming the teams leading rusher this year and the only running back to rush for over 100 yards in the opening three games on the Eagles roster, it’s evident that Ryan Mathews claims that accolade. If DeMarco Murray comes back into the team and Chip complete displaces Mathews for the opening two quarters or so whilst Murray takes all the snaps..it’s not only a sign as to who Chip prefers but also would presumably dent the confidence of the former Chargers running back.
Mathews changed the dynamic of the game against the Jets and if Murray isn’t 100% but still starts over him then there is definitely alarm bells ringing for the rest of the Eagles backfield. It would make sense to ease Murray into the game, give him a few screen plays and runs under center once the running game has been established by Sproles and Mathews,,but only time will tell what Chip decides to do.
Last week Chip Kelly said the running game was “back to basics”. What he meant was that the team were running in the same style that they used to in the previous two seasons when LeSean McCoy ran rampant. It still remains to be seen why the method was so successful against the Jets, was it an improved O-Line or was it just a big day from Mathews?
The problem is that in weeks 1&2, the team were running the ball out of the shotgun in order to benefit DeMarco Murray’s running style. The Eagles Offensive line is certainly not the same that Murray ran under in Dallas and that was prominent as the team were constantly overrun and last years rushing leader was dropped for a loss more times than he would have liked.
But now after week three, we have seen that the team CAN run the ball..if they play to the scheme and not the player. So, who bends? Does Murray begin to adapt his style to a more East-West style, or do the team once again try to instil a type of running game that Dallas once played? The decision should be obvious, you go with what works and what the Offensive Line are prepared for. The Eagles have three incredibly dangerous backs if used correctly and playing to the strengths of one is dispelling the strengths of the remaining two.
If Murray comes into the game and the team try to run the ball like they did in the opening two weeks, then it’s obvious Chip Kelly wants to either change the way his team approach the running game (which in the long run will likely involve another season of off-season moves) but if he can get Murray to experiment in the plays that make the Eagles so dangerous, then it shows that Chip Kelly is balanced and for the team. No player is greater than the team and you shouldn’t have to create your gameplan around one player. That statement proved to be true in week three, but now it’s time for Chip Kelly decide what to do with Murray if he plays..the result of which is likely going to impact how the Eagles run the ball for the end of the season.