It’s kind of ironic that the week before LeSean McCoy’s return to Philadelphia, the Eagles are dealing with another running back diva in the locker room.
According to various reports, running back DeMarco Murray, frustrated after not being the Birds’ featured back against the Patriots (he had just 14 carries), complained to Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie.
After leading the NFC in carries and collecting over 1,800 yards with the Cowboys in 2014, Murray was barely called upon in Sunday’s 35-28 win, even with Ryan Mathews out for another week recovering from a concussion. Instead the Eagles turned to the speedy and versatileDarren Sproles and recently activated former Oregon Duck Kenjon Barner.
With Murray making headlines, the Eagles locker room seems to be more or less uninterested.
“I don’t know what tothink of it,” offensive tackle Lane Johnson said.”I am out there blocking for whoever it is.”
None of the Eagles’ players questioned during Tuesday’s media availably had much to say about the Murray situation, but Johnson did offer an excuse for the former Dallas star’s poor performance.
“I think DeMarco, in this system it’s different than what he’s used to,” Johnson said of Murray, who has 569 yards on 163 carries.”There is an adjustment period. It is going to take time. Darren and Kenjon have been in the system for a while.”
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So has Murray. The Eagles are about to enter Week 14, looking to win the NFC East despite a variety of shortcomings on and off the field. Is the ‘new kid’ claim that really an excuse?
Barner, whose 106 yards on 23 carries is close to a yard per carry better than Murray, was “called up” by the Eagles three weeks ago after not appearing in a game for the team since the preseason. And even though he was with the team last year, he seemed to fit in Chip Kelly’s scheme pretty well after being away for a while.
“I was very comfortable,” Barner said.”It felt good it was no different than what I do in practice.”
Kelly says the lack of carries for Murray had nothing to do with him, it had to do with the Patriots defense, and the fact that the Eagles had nearly 20 snaps fewer on offense than usual.
“It was a strange game offensively from the aspect of we were not on the field in the third quarter and very rarely are you not on the field but yet you’re up two scores,” the coach said.”We had an interception return for a touchdown, and then we had a punt return for a touchdown.
“I’ve been there before, it’s because we have not been productive offensively.”
Here’s hoping the Eagles can figure out something. They’re on the hook for $21 million in guaranteed money of his five-year, $40 million deal.