After only playing 14 snaps against the New England Patriots in Week 13, Eagles running back DeMarco Murray is not expected to return to a featured role any time soon. Check out some of these reports floating around on Sunday morning prior to Philadelphia's game against the Buffalo Bills:
After a troubling week, #Eagles have weighed all options with DeMarco Murray, even sitting him. Either way, Darren Sproles will be featured— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 13, 2015
.@RapSheet just reported on NFL Network that DeMarco Murray is #4 for the Eagles today behind Sproles, Mathews, Barner.— Spike Eskin (@SpikeEskin) December 13, 2015
Just got to the Linc ... On Eagles RBs, don't expect Murray to get much more work than last wk. Team will platoon, w/Mathews worked back in.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) December 13, 2015
Eagles don't see enough burst or ability to make guys miss from Murray. Sproles will get run. Mathews' snaps will be based on conditioning.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) December 13, 2015
On Murray: Call to move away from him was based on merit. Sense is Mathews would take his role, they just need to see him after 3 weeks off.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) December 13, 2015
Just mentioned this on GD1 -- the way to look at the Eagles RBs ... Early downs: 1) Mathews; 2) Murray Passing downs: 1) Sproles; 2) Barner— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) December 13, 2015
Chip Kelly insisted Murray's lack of playing time against the Patriots had to do with the fact that the Eagles wanted to get their smaller running backs matched up against New England's bigger linebackers. But if Murray is expected to have a limited role moving forward, it's clear his demotion isn't due to matchups. Rather, it's due to the fact Murray has been very ineffective for the Eagles. Murray is averaging a mere 3.6 yards per carry. Meanwhile, Ryan Mathews (5.8), Darren Sproles (3.8), and Kenjon Barner (4.6) all rank above him.
The Eagles gave Sproles a lot of touches last week and it seems like that could be the plan once again against the Bills. Mathews is expected to play in his first game back from injury this week but Kelly noted his snaps will be monitored. It sounds like Mathews has a chance to take over in a bigger role moving forward if he can get healthy.
It'll be interesting to see how Murray handles a potential demotion. The seemingly disgruntled running back reportedly expressed frustrations with his role to Eagles' CEO and Chairman Jeffrey Lurie last week. One can imagine Murray won't be happy, but it's impossible to blame the Eagles for trying to do what's best to help the team win. And for now, that means less Murray and more of the team's other rushers.