Eagles should bench DeMarco Murray for rest of the season


Yes, the Philadelphia Eagles would really be better off if they just benched DeMarco Murray for the rest of the season.

That’s something that I never thought I’d be saying or hearing at any point during this season. His bad performances started with Week 1 against the Falcons, but I assumed he’d bounce back by now. The bottom line is he hasn’t.

Some people complained that Murray wasn’t given enough time on Sunday night to get into a groove running the ball, as he was given a season-low two touches (both carries) in the game and didn’t even touch the field until the second quarter. Those two carries were converted into just three yards, completing another poor day for him.

It was obvious from his first game of the year that he wasn’t going to be the same running back he was for Dallas last year. Not many predicted that his season would be this much of a disaster, yet here we are. And the Eagles have a big decision to make going into the final two games of the year, which determine if they’ll be able to make it into the postseason.

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They already were about 80 percent of the way in making this decision by giving Murray such a limited role against the Cardinals, but they need to take it to the next level and not give him any touches at all. It’s clear that almost every time he gets the ball, no matter where the run is supposed to go, that he won’t gain more than a yard or two, if he even can cross the line of scrimmage. Giving him carries is just a waste of time.

Ryan Mathews has continued to be effective on the ground though, suggesting that either Mathews is just a better fit for the system or that he’s just been a better running back this season. I think it’s a combination of both. Nobody expected Murray to match his 2014 performance, and there wasn’t even a guarantee that he’d get 20 carries a game with Mathews and Darren Sproles behind him on the depth chart. People have said over and over again that Murray doesn’t do well on lateral runs from the shotgun, which is also true. If they are going to give him the ball, those types of plays are a complete waste of time.

But they can avoid having to make that decision by just leaving him on the bench and letting Mathews handle the majority of the carries. Sproles has been ineffective most of the time carrying the ball this year (3.8 YPC), but he can succeed as a change of pace, third-down back when necessary. Mathews averaged 5.3 yards per carry again on Sunday, which is also his average for the whole season. The 11 carries he received was far too low, though. If the Eagles want to have an effective run game, Mathews needs 18 or so carries at a minimum. If he runs the way he has this whole season, they should be successful.

Mathews has only received 15+ carries once in a game this season, which was a Week 3 win against the Jets, a game that Murray missed due to injury. So now, all the Eagles have to do is pretend Murray is injured and not play him while giving Mathews all the carries. Is that too much to ask? If it is, the Eagles may be looking at an early deficit against the Redskins and it’ll be too late to run the ball. And that just can’t happen.

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