Philadelphia Eagles: How Many Carries Will DeMarco Murray Get?


Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It’s still crazy to think that running back DeMarco Murray is a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. I never thought in a million years that I would see the guy who formerly wore a blue star on his helmet in midnight green. The unthinkable became a reality after head coach Chip Kelly shipped former running back LeSean McCoy to Buffalo for linebacker Kiko Alonso. The running back position was left vacant, and after Frank Gore got cold feet in free agency, it opened the door for Murray. After the Murray deal, the team also signed Ryan Mathews and quickly formed a three headed monster with Murray, Mathews, and Darren Sproles.

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Every running back position rankings around the web all have the Philadelphia Eagles backfield as number 1 and rightfully so. The backfield looks incredibly formidable, and should get the ground game going once again after the team abandoned the run a little in 2014. In the 2013, the team was close to a 50-50 run to pass ratio, and in 2014 that ratio was 60-40 in favor of the passing game. The other interesting note is that in those two years, LeSean McCoy was the unquestioned bell cow and didn’t really have to share his carries. With the evolution of the team’s running back corps, is there enough carries to go around?

The Dallas Cowboys tried running Murray into the ground last season giving him a staggering 392 carries. Fans should be concerned about DeMarco and the Cowboys extreme reliance on the running back. The numbers for running backs who touched the ball more than 400 times including receiving touches are shocking. 7 running backs who have had more than 400 touches (not including two running backs because of injury) only averaged 981 yards the very next season. 

Chip Kelly wants to rotate his backs this year, this sentiment was shared by the running back coach Duce Staley. This rotating of backs might be key to bucking the trend of bad years after 400 plus touches for running backs. If Mathews and Sproles can stay healthy, Murray won’t have to carry the offense like he did in Dallas. Touches can be spread between the three backs, and the team can still give DeMarco the bulk of the touches.

McCoy got 314 and 312 carries from 2013 and 2014. That’s a pretty healthy number for a starter, but with the type of backs the Philadelphia Eagles have, Murray should see anywhere from 285 to 310 carries. I also expect to see DeMarco’s receiving numbers go down as well in 2015. The team has Sproles who has always been dangerous in the passing game, and Mathews has very underrated hands who caught a number of passes while in San Diego.

The Philadelphia Eagles won’t give DeMarco Murray the ball as much as the Dallas Cowboys did and that’s a good thing. If the Eagles can find a nice rotation, then I expect Murray to thrive while staying healthy and fresh. There will be plenty of carries because the team wants to find their balance of run/pass again. DeMarco Murray will be looking to repeat the success he experienced last year, and while he might not meet the same statistical numbers, you can make a bet that Murray will be more efficient in 2015. The carries will shrink a bit, but Murray will still have an enormous impact on the team’s success.

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