Darren Sproles, DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews.
The Eagles have three household names atop the depth chart at running back. But as the first preseason game approaches this coming Sunday the question remains — how will Chip Kelly use them in his fast-paced offense?
“The plan is, we are excited that both or either of them will be in there at any time,” Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur told the media Wednesday.”For the running backs it takes a village.It takes a group of running backs when you want to run the ball like we do. We are fortunate that every guy we put in there can run the ball the way we want it run, and pass protect, and certainly have good enough hands to catch the ball when we throw it to them.”
Murray will likely be the main workhorse, though he won’t be utilized as often as he was in Dallas, where he tallied nearly 500 touches during his breakout, NFL-leading season.
But Mathews is a smart, downhill runner ad was the No. 1 in San Diego before he came to Philadelphia, and he can offer a respite for Murray without the Birds losing a single thing.
And then there is Sproles, who may be small (he’s just 5-foot-6) but can really do it all.
“We like to get himthe ball steadily and consistently,” Shurmur said.”He’s certainly a unique, outstanding player. He’s as good as any receiver we have.You can hand him the football, you can extend him to throw him the ball or you can throw it to him out of the backfield. We have to make sure we throw him the ball.”
However the Eagles utilized their three-headed monster, it will certainly give defensive coordinators headaches throughoutthe league. Especially if a defense needs to contend with all three.
“I think we have to find that smooth mix between DeMarco, Ryan and Darren,” Shurmur said. “And there’s no reason we can’t but all three in at the same time.”