Much has been made about the Philadelphia Eagles' run game over the past two weeks. With three players in the rotation, everyone wants to start and no one is happy with the amount of carries they are getting. DeMarco Murray thought he was signing on to be the leading back as did Ryan Mathews while Darren Sproles expects to be on the field as well. Heading into a critical game against the Arizona Cardinals, the Eagles are stressing an even rotation.
Sproles was the starter in Week 13 while Mathews got the nod in Week 15. Meanwhile, ESPN's Ed Werder is reporting that Murray went to both owner Jeff Lurie and head coach Chip Kelly upset about his role on the team. If there are concerns with the ground game, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur has no interest in hearing it as he stresses the team will rotate evenly.
"We have what we believe to be four really good running backs. So we want to use them all," Shurmur said, via Paul Domowitch, of the Philadelphia Daily News. "If you put a really good player in the game and he's fresher as you go, then you get a little bit more out of him. When you have a featured back, and that's the unintended consequence of saying you only have one guy, then that guy takes a lot of pounding and a lot of wear and tear."
Murray is used to being the leading rusher. He carried the ball 392 times last season while earning a five-year, $40 million deal as a result. However, this season he is averaging just 3.5 yards per carry while Mathews averages 5.3 and Sproles averages 4.0. Kenjon Barner is putting up 4.6 yards per carry. Murray's role on the team is not what he was expecting it to be as it continues to change each week. According to CSNPhilly.com, Murray is guaranteed nothing with the Eagles as Shurmur is not trying to please anyone.
"We're trying to win football games and we want to put fresh running backs in the game. Period. End of story," Shurmur said.
The Eagles are winning and looking like an improved team which is likely on of the reasons Shurmur is not concerned about the running back rotation. Sam Bradford is playing better while Zach Ertz, Nelson Agholor and Jordan Matthews continue to make a positive impact on the field. As long as the team keeps winning, the running back rotation will remain as is. Bradford admits players are feeling comfortable with their roles as they fight for a spot in playoffs.
"If you look around, a lot of the guys who are playing at a high level have been in their systems for a while," Bradford said, via ESPN.com. "They're really comfortable with what they're doing."