Recently Courtyard Hotels, the Official Hotel of the NFL, partnered with Ben Schwartz (Parks and Rec) to create a series of short, funny, Between Two Ferns-ish videos highlighting NFL players, with the hotel serving as the backdrop. In the fourth episode of the series, Schwartz says to Philadelphia Eagles running back DeMarco Murray during a mostly improvised feaux-interview, "Finish this sentence: Every day I wake up and…"
Obviously, Eagles fans are disappointed this greatness has not yet translated to the football field. But maybe that greatness will come.
In a recent conversation with Bleeding Green Nation, Murray said that he and the offensive line are, admittedly, a work in progress, "We’re growing. We continue to get more reps and work hard. Getting more reps means we’re getting more comfortable. We just need to keep fighting."
Comfort levels need to be high tomorrow, when the Eagles face the New England Patriots, a team still seething from its first loss of the season. There is much at stake. Murray was just eleven years old when the Eagles last defeated the Patriots. The running back of that team is now Murray’s position coach, Duce Staley, who ran 29 times for 93 yards on the unforgiving Veteran’s Stadium astroturf. Since then, the Eagles have yet to exact any type of revenge after losing Super Bowl XXXIX. What better time than now? A win could serve as mighty strong spring board.
But this is just broader context to a season where almost everything has gone wrong. Following the team’s third straight loss on Thanksgiving Day, Chip Kelly reportedly got emotional in the locker room. When asked whether this emotion impacted preparation for the Patriots, Murray was a bit noncommittal, "Emotions are always high in the locker room. You just have to look at yourself in the mirror and make sure you leave everything on the field. Make sure you fight." We’re from Philly, after all.
Despite all that has gone wrong this season, the Eagles can still make the playoffs in the weak NFC East. "The team knows we control our own destiny," Murray said. "We know what’s at stake. The intensity is there; we just need to maintain focus." Focus is what the camera holds on Murray. He is funny and charismatic and comfortable, all of which he attributed to Schwartz. "Ben was incredible to work with. It was such a great opportunity." Does he have a career in acting after football? "We’ll see what happens," he said. "Right now I’m looking ahead to the Patriots."
And Murray can look ahead with Sam Bradford, who is likely to start after missing the last two games with a shoulder sprain and concussion. Earlier this week Byron Maxwell said he thinks Bradford is the best quarterback in the NFL. Murray came to his defense, "Byron is being a good teammate. Of course guys on our team will want to think that our guys are better than their guys, but I don’t really get into all that ‘this player is better than that player’ stuff."
Murray is optimistic about acting but will wait and see what happens. He won’t be playing the lead role in any Brian Dawkins biopic soon. His attention now is on football, the Eagles, and the Patriots.
When asked to finish the sentence: the Eagles will finish the season… Murray answered,
"On a positive note."