There is no doubt that DeMarco Murray’s 2014-2015 season was the best in his career. He saw his best personal numbers during the 16 games he started. Murray had 392 rushing attempts, 1,845 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns. Along with these new rushing statistics, he managed to have 57 receptions for 416 reception yards. He made the Pro-Bowl, first-team All-Pro, AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year and was obviously the NFL’s leading rusher. The question remains: is Murray’s success based on his talent or his teammates?
Dallas had one of the best offensive lines that it had in years. The Cowboys had tackle Tyron Smith, guard Zach Martin and center Travis Fredrick in the Pro Bowl and played fantastically during the regular season. Dallas’ offensive line could apparently make any running back look good. However Murray didn’t stick around in Dallas and made the move to NFC East rival Philadelphia. This move will show if Murray can reproduce his success in a new offense or if it was a product of running behind of Dallas’ offensive line.
Murray is an incredible athlete on his own. Standing at six-foot tall and 217 pounds, he’s a powerhouse and has the long strides that make him a force on the field. He is the one-cut running back that Chip Kelly was looking for since he shipped LeSean McCoy to Buffalo. He’s a hard worker and reads the field well, allowing him to make big plays. Murray also works well with what he’s given and produces more yards per carry when fully healthy.
DeMarco Murray will be a good addition to Kelly’s offense and he’ll likely replicate his success. Murray is a threat when catching the ball out of the backfield and is a powerful runner. You won’t see Murray have negative yardage on plays too often, an issue that plagues most offenses. He’s not a big 50-yard plus playmaker but he moves the chains and that’s what coaches want to see. However, he’s without the offensive linemen in Dallas that made him such a threat. Can he still thrive?
His success in Philadelphia will come but there will be a transition period. Kelly runs a very uptempo offense and it might take training camp for Murray to get acclimated to it. He has the intelligence to adapt quickly and his playing style will fit into what Kelly has planned for a championship team. The spread style offense will give Murray room to run and it’ll benefit the powerful, one-cut running back. Murray also won’t be alone with the addition of Ryan Mathews in the backfield and Darren Sproles.
So will Murray succeed without the help of Dallas’ offensive line? It is very possible. However, there will also be certain pieces the Eagles need to be successful. The entire offensive line will need to remain healthy and Sam Bradford needs to be confident with the ball. There is a chance that the Eagles will make some magic this season and Murray will be one of the top backs in the NFL. He’ll have the chance to possibly have a 1,500-yard season and maybe even top LeSean McCoy’s single season rushing record of 1,607 yards.
For now, we’ll have to see what Chip Kelly pulls out of his magical coaching hat…or visor, whichever he prefers.
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