Eagles Analysis: Can DeMarco Murray stay on a roll?


It was nice to see DeMarco Murray finally have a productive day for the Philadelphia Eagles, but will it last? Will he be able to maintain an average of more than one yard per carry going forward? Well, I don’t think his performance against the Saints gives us much to be ecstatic about.

I am definitely excited that Murray finally got over 100 total yards and as many touches as he did. Touching the ball 27 times in a game is what he’s used to, and it’s close to the amount that he deserves. However, when you look closely at the performance, it must be taken with a grain of salt.

Murray still looks really slow. It’s almost painful to see him bumbling around on the field and trying to gain positive yards. He’s nowhere near as explosive as both Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles have been this season. It’s possible that he’s still feeling the effects of the hamstring injury that kept him out of the Eagles’ Week 3 win over the Jets, but I’m not surprised that he’s trying to play through it. He needs to be out there on the field to prove that he deserves the contract he was given.

Murray had 83 yards rushing and led the team in catches with seven. He finished with 37 receiving yards. Totaling that many rushing yards is a great step forward, but considering it took him 20 carries to get there is a little concerning. Murray has been known to average a high yards per carry throughout his career, and he still had plenty of carries where he was stopped for a minimal gain on Sunday. His longest carry of the game was 24 yards. Subtract that from his 83 yards and he averaged only 3.1 yards per carry. Even with that carry he still only had 4.2 yards per carry.

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He also had a touchdown, but it was in garbage time, and Mathews vultured a touchdown from him earlier in the game on the goal line. It was expected that Mathews and Sproles would still get their touches, but still, you’d think Murray would be the go-to guy on the goal line.

The least exciting part of the performance was that it was against the Saints defense. New Orleans ranks 29th in the league in run defense, allowing 135.8 rushing yards per game. I’m not completely discounting his performance because he deserves credit for breaking out of his slump. But rushing for a good game against a bad team with a bad defense is expected.

Next week the Eagles have the Giants, who have the second best run defense in the league, allowing just 80.6 rushing yards per game. This season, they held Joseph Randle to 4.2 yards per carry, Matt Jones/Alfred Morris to 3.4 yards per carry, Karlos Williams to 2.2 yards per carry and Carlos Hyde to 4.4 yards per carry. And that doesn’t include their most impressive feat, which was stopping recent sensation Devonta Freeman to just 25 yards on 12 carries in Week 2. This run defense has been legit.

I certainly don’t think Murray will turn in another two yards on 13 carries type of performance, but I don’t expect him to tear it up either. However, he could completely prove me wrong by having a dominant performance. For him to go out on Monday night on national television and drop 100 rushing yards on the Giants would be huge for both his confidence and the Eagles’ run game moving forward. But, I’m not optimistic that’ll happen. I’m just hoping I’m wrong.

Next: Eagles run game is even worse than it was in 2014

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