The MMQB has been running an offseason series focused on the top 100 most influential people in the NFL. The list isn't limited to just players; it also features coaches, reporters, owners, and so on. A total of three members of the Philadelphia Eagles franchise made the final list.
Checking in at No. 58 is Eagles running back DeMarco Murray. Here's what Emily Kaplan had to say:
"The five-year, $42-million contract DeMarco Murray signed with the Eagles included at least one unfortunate stipulation: an inextricable link to LeSean McCoy’s nasty Philadelphia divorce. Shady’s parting shots at coach Chip Kelly left his successor in an unenviable position. The 27-year-old Murray must justify Kelly’s decision to trade the Eagles’ all-time leading rusher while validating his own expensive payday. Murray’s all-world performance last year was impressive, but he could be considered a flash in the plan. In Dallas he was supported by an outstanding offensive line. And after logging 497 touches between the regular season and playoffs, wear and tear is a major concern for the 27-year-old back at a time when few teams are willing to invest in veteran runners. Murray won’t be quite the workhorse he was for the Cowboys—he’ll share reps with another free-agent signee, Ryan Mathews—but his productivity will help indicate if Kelly’s roster overhaul was genius, and Murray will have at least two chances this season to exact some revenge on the team that let him go."
The Cowboys' offensive line gets a lot of credit (and probably too much), but Murray was very critical to the success Dallas had last season. His elite production took pressure off Tony Romo and the Cowboys' defense. Now in Philadelphia, Murray will be responsible for getting the Eagles' run game back on track. He won't be burdened like he was in Dallas, but he'll still be a centerpiece of the offense. It'll be very interesting to see how Dallas fares without him and how the Eagles will fare with him.
Next up on the list is another big name: Sam Bradford. He ranks in at No. 23 overall. Here's Andy Benoit's take:
"In Philly, where the fast tempo leaves little time for pre-snap diagnostics, it’s all about defined reads. The system, especially in the aerial department, is the most simplistic in pro football. (How do you think all 11 Eagles are always able to play so fast?) Kelly’s playbook has essentially seven or eight total plays. But there’s an illusion of complexity because those plays are run out of many different formations. Any quarterback, particularly one with Bradford’s quick release, has a chance to prosper just by going through the correct motions.
We’ll learn two things about Bradford in 2015: (1) whether the 27-year-old’s once-promising career can ever get off the ground, and (2) whether Kelly can be convinced—truly convinced—that his system can function satisfactorily without a mobile quarterback. It’s this second item that has the rest of the NFL watching with bated breath. Kelly’s M.O. is the trendiest in football right now. His concepts are being copied more than anyone’s. If Bradford recognizes his full potential here, the copycatting will intensify. Maybe even to the degree of a league-wide revolution."
Bradford has his fair share of doubters, and rightfully so. He needs to prove he can not only stay healthy but also play well when he's in the game. Bradford won't have the excuses in Philadelphia that he had in St. Louis. He's surrounded by more offensive talent and the best offensive coaching he's ever worked with in the NFL.
Last, but certainly not least, is Chip Kelly. The Eagles head coach ranks in at No. 3, only behind NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (No. 2) and Tom Brady (No. 1). Peter King interviewed Jimmy Johnson for insight on Kelly.
"Here’s the big question: Do you want to play it safe and be good or do you want to take a chance and be great? If you’re not afraid to fail, you can do some great things in this league. But most people are afraid to fail, so they play it safe. I always liked to take risks because I was always confident in my abilities. I think—no, I know—Chip is confident in his abilities, too."
Kelly orchestrated a chaotic offseason for the Eagles. Now we'll see if it pays off.
The combination of Kelly, Bradford, and Murray will undoubtedly be critical to Philadelphia's success in 2015 and moving forward. They are indeed some of the most influential figures in the NFL.