DeMarco Murray has struggled in the opening four weeks of the NFL season. Averaging just 1.6 yads per carry and already suffering an injury setback, last years rushing leader is understandably frustrated…but the winds of change could well be blowing around Lincoln Financial Field.
A helping hand
Last week Murray was running against a team ranked first in the NFL when it comes to stopping the run. Prior to missing the Jets game, he ran against a Dallas team who knew his style better than anyone and a Falcons Defense who saw next to no running plays, that have given up just 341 rushing yards on the season and rank fifth in the NFL. We’re not saying that this discredits the Offensive Line issues but it certainly doesn’t help Murray to flourish with such established units hitting him before he can get the Cogs turning.
The Saints however have given up 493 yards rushing and have struggled to stop the running game in the opening games of the season. Perhaps even more worrying is that the Saints Defense hasn’t exactly come up against an elite running back yet but are still giving up huge yards game in and game out. If the Offensive Line can group together and fix what has gone so drastically wrong then DeMarco Murray might have a chance to burst through holes into acres of open space. The New Orleans side has been slow to read the running game this season and with the Eagles having such a deep set of plays, could well throw a few curveballs at the black and gold to pick up some big rushing yards.
We saw what Murray can do after a big run against the Redskins. What can he do against a Run Defense at its weakest?
Tiny moving parts
After an invisible running game in week one, the Eagles banded together in week two for what was ultimately an embarrassing show against Dallas. Ryan Mathews exploded against the Jets before finally we saw signs of overall life. Murray was able to get his best game of the season completed against Washington (although that wasn’t difficult) and started to finally look as though he fit in with the scheme.
The problem was that we have spoken about so many times is that it looked like Chip was trying to get the Eagles O-Line to play like Dallas to allow Murray to punch through the holes..but the Eagles are an east/west team. But last week, Murray seemed to be punching to the outside a lot more frequently and after three full games in the backfield, whilst maybe not getting as many reps as he would like, Murray is learning how to be successful with this Offense. New Orleans don’t boast the biggest defensive challenge and that’s a dangerous combination for a runner so powerful.
Murray was quick to say that he wants more touches after last weeks loss and he may just get his wish. Chip Kelly wants to spread the ball around and DeMarco has been very open about his enjoyment of the scheme.If Murray wants more touches, he has to perform. That drive however is what might just be needed to propel his game to the next level.
If he’s frustrated, angry and hungry to perform better and get even half the touches per game that he did with Dallas then surely the results are going to take a steep improvement. Sometimes you have to go backwards before you move forwards..and with a combination of all three points coming together, today might just be the day that DeMarco Murray has his breakout game in Philadelphia.