Murray jumped ship on the Cowboys after the 2014 season, despite winning the Offensive Player of the Year Award and leading the league in both rushing yards and yards from scrimmage. He credited his decision to feeling undervalued by the Cowboys. He wanted to be paid an exorbitant amount of money, which Dallas could not provide after signing Dez Bryant to a huge deal.
So Murray went north to the City of Brotherly Love to join Chip Kelly and the new look Eagles. People were excited to see Murray in the fast paced offense and Murray was pleased to be paid like the franchise running back he thought he deserved to be.
The signing made a ton of sense for the Eagles as well. They had just traded their lead back LeSean McCoy to Buffalo in exchange for Kiko Alonso. However, Philly also went out and signed Ryan Mathews as well from San Diego to add to the stable of runners that featured Kenjon Barner and Darren Sproles.
I had concerns about Murray in this new Eagles offense. First, he was going from a team that sold out on the run to a team that loved to throw the ball. He also went from having the league’s best offensive line to a line that featured two new starters. Murray also had 390 carries in 2014 and no running back has excelled the following season after toting the ball that many times.
Heading into tonight, I was apprehensive as to how Murray would play. I figured he would have decent success though as the Eagles faced the Falcons who had the league’s worst defense a year ago. I kind of expected though that he would see fewer touches because they wanted to pace him for the season and because both Mathews and Sproles would vulture some carries.
However, I hardly expected that Murray would only run the ball eight times in the game. I was shocked even more that he only picked up nine yards on those eight carries. He did catch the ball four times but only picked up 11 yards there. So on the night, Murray finished with a miserable 1.67 yards per touch. That is a far cry from a season ago when he averaged 5.03 yards per touch.
He still scored twice but both times were in short yardage situations. You also cannot count on him scoring two touchdowns every week. Without that second touchdown, the stat line seems a lot less impressive. He will no doubt get opportunities to score in the Philly offense. He just cannot think he will put up the same ground production.
Obviously, it is a very small sample size for Murray and the Eagles but it was not an encouraging start. Either way, Murray made the wrong call when he chose which team. He obviously got paid more but by putting his pride ahead of his production. There is no way Murray will every be as productive as he was going away from Dallas. It was the best spot in the league for a running back. The defense was sturdy and the offense often got them leads early on. That led to plenty of situations for Murray to run the clock behind a bulldozing offensive line.
The Eagles on the other hand, tend throw the ball a ton and Murray has never been known for being a premier pass catcher. That means that Kelly will often sub him off on obvious passing downs. The offensive line also isn’t as reliable. There is just no way Murray is in a better situation. His wallet is just a bit more swollen. He passed up the chance to make a title run with the Cowboys, who, had they retained Murray, would be a popular pick to win the NFC.
He could go on to have a really good year, but in my mind, unless he eclipses his numbers from last year or the Eagles go deeper into the playoffs than the Cowboys, I will definitely chalk this up as a selfish mistake by DeMarco Murray.