There is no question that Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly wants to build his offense primarily through the running game. This year he just might have the players necessary to create a “three headed monster.”
Their names are DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles. Saturday night’s game against the Baltimore Ravens saw Kelly utilize all three of his running backs in a single drive and it was a good display of what is in store for defenses across the NFL.
DeMarco Murray, who had been in and out of training camp and didn’t play in last week’s opener against the Colts, suited up for Saturday’s game. It wasn’t for a long period of time and there was more that wished to be seen. He took his first handoff from Bradford for a seven-yard gain. Murray ended the night with five carries for 17 yards and a touchdown.
Murray fits in very well with the Eagles’ downhill running style and is going to do great things in Kelly’s offense. He never hesitated to hit a hole which was a problem with a certain Eagles’ running back in the past. Murray didn’t shy away from contact either and looked just like the player that dominated in Dallas last season.
There may be even more excitement about another new addition to the Birds’ backfield in Ryan Mathews. There was a hint of what Mathews could do during Saturday night’s game. He had three carries on the night for 19 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown run to cap off the team’s opening drive. It was nice to see Mathews compliment Murray well, as both are bigger backs that hit the hole in a hurry.
While Darren Sproles may be the smallest head on the Eagles’ running back monster, he may be the most fun to watch. He was explosive last season and was the number two running back behind LeSean McCoy. He was the team’s primary punt returner last season and will likely fill that same role again this year, although Kenjon Barner is giving him a run for his money as well. In Saturday night’s game, he ran twice for 10 yards and caught two passes totaling 15 yards.
Sproles will likely be utilized more as a slot receiver this upcoming season with two running backs ahead of him on the depth chart. The added time as a receiver will only help Sproles see the field more and add to the big play potential of Kelly’s uptempo attack.
So what’s does this all mean going into the regular season?
The creation of the Eagles “three-headed monster” is proving to be one of Kelly’s best decisions yet. It’s hard to complain about your running backs when they find their way into the end zone. They have a high level of production in limited time that spells confusion for defenses. It would also be best for Kelly to have a powerful, reliable ground game which would allow less chances for Sam Bradford to get re-injured.
Murray is coming off a season with the Dallas Cowboys where he had nearly 500 touches. Kelly won’t work him nearly that hard here and that likely factored into Murray’s decision to sign with the Eagles. Spreading out the job between these three backs, as we saw on Saturday night, means that there won’t be a single back overworked. It’s a win-win situation for all three members of the Eagles’ backfield.
Saturday’s game was just a sneak peak at what could be the NFL’s biggest offensive weapon, a three headed monster in the City of Brotherly Love.
More from Inside the Iggles
- Eagles captains earn high praise on roster blending veteran leadership, youth
- How former Eagles star Cre’Von LeBlanc helped Renegades upstage Cowboys
- Eagles 2023 schedule: Every WR duo Darius Slay, James Bradberry will battle
- Imagining better names for Jason Kelce’s Good Guy Award
- Bold predictions for the Philadelphia Eagles offense in 2023