The Philadelphia Eagles traded LeSean McCoy and signed Ryan Mathews as his potential replacement. However, right as they were agreeing to contract terms with Mathews, the opportunity to get DeMarco Murray came up. Obviously, the Eagles jumped at the chance to sign the NFL's leading rusher, but Mathews opted to stay on as well hoping for a role on the team. While Murray is the assumed starter for 2015, he is splitting reps with Mathews which hints that the rushers will have even carries come the regular season.
Murray led all running backs in yard and number of carries last year. He was the x-factor for the Dallas Cowboys. Despite the heavy workload he managed to stay healthy, but there is no guarantee that luck will strike twice in that situation. According to PhillyMag.com, in an effort to have a more dominant rushing attach, Murray and Mathews will be splitting carries more this upcoming season. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur predicts that both running backs will play a heavy role in the offense as it will not just be the Murray show throughout the year like it was in Dallas. Fantasy owners beware, the leading rusher might not have the huge numbers like he did in 2014.
"They're two really fine players," Shurmur said, via the Delaware County Times. "They're two guys that have been starters in places that they've been and they're going to come here and kind of share the role. I think that's terrific that that's their mindset. It shows us that you've got really, really fine players that understand it's important to be a good teammate. Any time you can add good players to a unit you make yourself better because you need more than one to play the year."
While Murray and Mathews are headlining the rushing attack, the question becomes exactly where Darren Sproles fits in for 2015. According to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Sproles has been informed that his role will not change despite the addition of Murray and Mathews. Last season, Sproles was second on the team in carries and was crucial in specific play packages. Head coach Chip Kelly stressed that he needs to do a better job of getting Sproles on the field more which once again hurts the amount of carries Murray and Mathews will be getting. The coach told the media that he plans on getting Sproles more involved in the passing game after he caught 40 passes last year.
The run game along with Sproles will be critical if Sam Bradford is going to succeed. While the quarterback continues to nurse back-to-back ACL tears and works with Mark Sanchez with the first-team offense, he needs a solid rushing attack to help him grasp the offense. Mathews and Murray might be splitting carries, but they will each get their fair share of work.