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December 08, 2015

ESPN's Ed Werder explains DeMarco Murray's plight

Eagles NFL
120815DeMarcoMurray Julio Cortez/AP

DeMarco Murray sure has the "south" part of north-south running figured out.

This past Sunday in Foxborough, Eagles running back DeMarco Murray only got on the field for 14 snaps in the Birds' win over the New England Patriots. On Tuesday morning, it was revealed in a pair of tweets by ESPN's Ed Werder, who is well known for covering the Dallas Cowboys, that Murray expressed frustrations with his role in Chip Kelly's offense to Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie.

Those tweets of course leave plenty of room to the imagination, so Rob Ellis and Harry Mayes of 97.5 the Fanatic had Werder on to expand on his reporting. You can listen to the audio here, but I transcribed the relevant parts here:

I think a lot of assumptions are being made. First of all, I think it’s natural that a competitive, highly paid athlete who was recruited by Chip Kelly in his system and was paid substantially more to play in Philadelphia than he was in Dallas previously would expect that his skills would be accommodated. And of course when the team has its biggest win of the year against the defending Super Bowl Champion Patriots, he’s going to be frustrated when he only gets on the field for 14 snaps. 
Beyond that, I think there’s a lot of things that we don’t know still about the conversation. I think the most important one is, there’s this perception that he went storming into Jeffrey Lurie’s office at the NovaCare Complex, when in reality they were playing a game on the road. In all likelihood, this conversation happened in the locker room, on the team bus, on the team charter on the way back to Philadelphia. And for all we know Jeffrey Lurie initiated it by asking him how he was feeling about things or some question such as that. 
So I wouldn’t assume that DeMarco Murray was the one who went whining and complaining to the owner about this. He may have had a very honest reaction to something Jeffrey Lurie asked him, and I would assume that he has spoken to (Eagles RB coach) Duce Staley and Chip Kelly about the concerns because they’ve been season-long issues. It’s not like it just happened in this one game. 
His skill set has not been accommodated in Chip Kelly’s offense. He’s a downhill runner and we saw that with Dallas last year. That’s the way he played at Oklahoma. I think he assumed that the Eagles offense was going to be a good fit for him in that same way, and yet we see him running laterally parallel to the line of scrimmage an awful lot of the time and it hasn’t been successful. 
I’ve known DeMarco since he came into the NFL, and I don’t know him to be a confrontational type of person at all. I’m sure his competitive pride is hurt. Imagine how you would feel if you thought you were getting this enormous opportunity, and even if they didn’t specifically promise you what your role was going to be and they were going to modify the offense, the mere fact that they’re paying you so much money -- $40 million, half of it guaranteed, you assume you’re going to be a significant part of what they’re trying to do. And then really almost from the very start of the season, it was never that, and it’s never been that, and publicly it’s never really been well explained. 
I mean, Chip has said that Duce decides what the running back rotation is and who’s in the game and he’s been vague about all of this and putting the decision in the hands of somebody else. We all know that ultimately Chip Kelly, like most head coaches – if your $40 million running back is not in the game and some guy that you just promoted from the practice squad is fumbling at midfield in a critical situation with the game on the line, wouldn’t the head coach be looking at the running back coach and say ‘Why isn’t our starter out there? Why isn’t the guy we made this huge investment in out there in a critical situation like this?” I can certainly understand DeMarco’s frustration.
Exactly how he did it, we don’t know all the details of that, but we just know that one way or another Jeffrey Lurie is aware of the concerns that DeMarco Murray has in the role that he’s playing in the Eagles’ organization right now.

So, to recap, DeMarco Murray's agent's sock puppet Werder said the following (I'm paraphrasing):

  1. Murray is not a whiner and complainer.
  2. Lurie, and not Murray, may have initiated the complaining.
  3. That conversation may have happened in the locker room, on a bus, or maybe even an airplane. No word on whether it may have occurred in the conservatory or the study.
  4. Murray may have spoken with Staley or Kelly about his plight, although that is an unknown.
  5. Murray's skills aren't being accommodated.
  6. Murray is not a confrontational person.
  7. Kenjon Barner sucks and should not have been on the field in favor of Murray at the end of the game last Sunday.
  8. Murray's mistreatment wasn't just last Sunday. His troubles have been a season-long issue.

I do agree with Werder that Murray has often been used by the Eagles in a way that is not conducive to a guy who can't run. However, I will note that no matter how Murray has been used, he has stunk this season, which is something Werder failed to mention.

Murray declined comment in the locker room after Eagles practice today. "Thursday," he said.

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