Yesterday’s loss to the Cardinals was full of things that can’t, or wont, be explained. But perhaps the most confusing is why on earth DeMarco Murray only had 2 rushing attempts.
That’s right, the man the Eagles are paying $8 million a year had just 3 rushing yards on 2 carries, all in the second half. Murray is no one’s favorite back, but there’s no denying he’s useful in certain situations.
First off, his lack of carries tonight is simply unacceptable. Doesn’t matter how its spun, whether it’s the fact that he’s so much, and needs to give the team a return on the investment, or the fact that there are certain situations where Murray is useful. This man is part of the team, and while his play obviously hasn’t been stellar this year, he’s had his moments.
Murray is a perfect 12/12 on yards-to-go of 1 yard. And yet, on 4th and 1, with the Eagles needing to score to stay in the game, it wasn’t Murray who was in, but Matthews, who was stopped short for a turnover on downs. There were a lot of other problems with this play: Kelly refused to change formation after Arizona called a time out to better prepare for the play. Additionally, Kelly had Riley Cooper, a receiver, lead as a blocker rather then a tight end. Nevertheless, Murray should have received that carry.
What’s more, Kelly didn’t even give a good reason for not playing Murray, instead he said that the team meant to use him more, but couldn’t because they fell behind. On the contrary, there were plenty of times Murray would have been useful, especially in the first half, when the game was actually close. The lack of carries becomes even more surprising since over the past few weeks, the Eagles have done a good job of balancing the amount of carries the backs receive, and have succeeded in the run game. The fact that they decided to only give him two carries last night makes no sense.
So what does the future hold for Murray and the Eagles?
If fans really hate Murray and would love nothing more then to see him gone, they will be sorely disappointed this offseason: Murray will probably be around for a while. It doesn’t make any sense to trade or release him, from both a talent and fiscal point of view. Murray would cost the team $13 million in dead money to release him, which is $5 million than his annual cap hit. He will certainly see more carries from this Saturday against the Redskins, and for the rest of the season, however long that may be. Why Murray received so few carries last night makes no sense, and probably will never be explained, but he’s there, he’s talented, and the Eagles need to use him.
This is just another turn on the roller coaster that is the Eagles season, but I would expect Murray’s carries count to slope back to normal very soon.