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October 05, 2015

DeMarco Murray wants to touch the football more

Overall, Chip Kelly is doing a really bad job with the 2015 Philadelphia Eagles, especially because he took (like, by force) full personnel control this past offseason from Howie Roseman. Nobody will dispute this. The star of “Bones” definitely won’t put up a fight:

The Iron Sheik, he’s on the same page:

A more specific area where Kelly is doing a poor job is the running game. Heading into the weekend, Football Outsiders' DVOA ranked the Eagles’ ground attack 29th of 32 teams. DeMarco Murray was the team’s major free-agent acquisition, and at the time I (and many others) wondered whether it was prudent to back up the truck for a 27-year-old back coming off 449 touches in a single season.

Forget that noise. Through three games, Murray hasn’t been given a chance by an offensive line that looks downright Penn State-y. 2010 Adrian Peterson would not have success running behind this group. You don’t finish with numbers in the neighborhood of 29 carries for 47 yards with even competent line play. Alas, Murray is a running back and running backs, by nature, want the ball more. From Birds 24/7’s Josh Paunil:

“No, I’m not,” Murray said. “I don’t think I am, but it’s just how the plays have been called.”

Murray averaged 24.5 carries per game last season, which is why he’s frustrated. With the team’s two bookends suffering injuries against Washington on Sunday, I’m not sure things will get much better in the run blocking department. At least DeMarco can take some solace in that he already got paid?

In case you missed it at PhillyVoice

1. Jimmy’s 10 awards: Time of possession can be misleading, but man, those numbers Jimmy laid out are pretty damning. I guess if you’re going to be terrible in a specific area of the game, it’s better to do so in historical fashion?

2. Instant observations: Award-winning stuff from yours truly. Does Billy Davis actually go to the bathroom before 3rd-and-long plays? A message was sent to the Eagles looking for comment, but there hasn’t been any response yet.

3. Five reasons the Eagles lost: Mullin came right back from a Hawaiian vacation to let you know the Eagles might not be very good. What he’s trying to say is the Birds are the “Aloha” of the NFL! Just kidding, that movie actually had a really talented cast.

Other Eagles news, notes and analysis from around the web:

Big Picture Talk: Tommy Lawlor, Iggles Blitz

Kelly has proven himself to be an elite college football coach, and the program that covets elite college coaches more than anyone else just lost to their in-state rival by 43 points. I don’t pretend to know or particularly care how warm Charlie Strong’s seat actually is, but the “Chip Kelly to Texas” jokes/speculation have already been already beaten into the ground:

As the great Lee Corso would say, not so fast, my friend. Kelly hates dealing with outside distractions, and Texas has more of those than anywhere else in the country:

A quick note about Kelly and the future. A lot of people love to talk about him going back to college to save Texas or some other big program like that.

Not likely. Kelly hated dealing with boosters at Oregon. They tolerated the cold shoulder he gave them because he kept winning big. Oregon has one huge booster in Phil Knight. Beyond that, the group is nothing like most football factories. Texas has the most demanding boosters in the nation. Kelly would never go there. He wants to stay in the NFL. You deal with one owner, not a group of boosters.

It's not fatigue that cost Eagles 'D' at the end: Jeff McLane, Philadelphia Inquirer

Not to pick on SportsCenter’s Kevin Negandhi, but this sentiment is both popular and misguided:

The offensive performance speaks for itself, but you know, the defense can make a play every once in awhile if they want a rest. Washington’s first drive went 7:38 because the Eagles gave up a ridiculous first down on 3rd and 19. Later, Kurt F#%^& Cousins went 90 yards on 15 plays to win the game! McLane does a good job of making this point:

An argument could be made that there is mental fatigue with being on the field significantly longer, but it's not as if Davis' defense hasn't held under similar circumstances. The New York Jets ran more plays and had the ball longer last week, and the Eagles were able to hold the lead even though their offense was stagnant in the second half.

6 thoughts on a bizarre Eagles afternoon: Rich Hofmann, Philadelphia Daily News

This writer has a pretty cool name, and he is correct in pointing out the law of averages has caught up to the Eagles:

Injuries, as it turns out, are more about cyclicality and less about the magic of Sports Science. That can be the only conclusion as the Eagles continue to drop in alarming numbers after doing just the opposite at the beginning of the Era of Chip Kelly and the Technicolor Smoothies. The Eagles are a beaten-up team on both sides of the ball. They have been slammed by the law of averages.

10 things we learned: Brandon Lee Gowton, Bleeding Green Nation

Good stuff from BLG. It wouldn’t overshadow the rest of the team’s major issues, but the Eagles are likely 3-1 with a competent kicking game. Unfortunately, competence is too much to ask. Caleb Sturgis was an unmitigated disaster yesterday:

Caleb Sturgis missed a 33-yard field goal and an extra point in the Eagles' three-point loss. If he makes those, Philadelphia wins. And just for perspective, Cody Parkey hit a 30-yard kick last week with three torn muscles in his groin. I don't like blaming the Eagles' loss on Sturgis because if you're relying on a street free agent kicker to win, you're probably in trouble. You can't put yourself in that situation. But it was clear Sturgis wasn't good before he arrived in Philadelphia, and he doesn't seem like he's going to turn it around. At least he might be good on kickoffs ... ?

Continuing to pile on Sturgis, here is Grantland’s Bill Barnwell:

The Eagles’ kicking game is bad, but kicking all around the league is in shambles. Longtime kicker Jay Feely had an interesting theory for why this is happening, those damned extra points:

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann