After huge seasons for running backs often comes a huge decline that they never bounce back from. The Philadelphia Eagles signed DeMarco Murray to the big money deal he wants, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worried about his high usage numbers from last season.
Murray led the NFL in rushing yards with 1845 yards and caught the ball 57 more times for 416 yards. In all, he had 449 touches, which is something running backs usually find it difficult to bounce back from, unless they’re managed properly and not run down into the ground, as Larry Johnson was in Kansas City after a couple of big seasons.
Chip Kelly isn’t planning on making Murray carry the load all alone. He did get rid of LeSean McCoy, but he signed a capable back in Ryan Mathews (although he is another player with injury concerns) to lighten the workload off of Murray, who was signed to a $40 million, five-year deal with $18 million in guaranteed money. There are also injuries in his past.
Murray has been getting rest through practices and also not taking part in the first preseason game. Kelly does plan on running the ball a lot – that’s a big part of his offensive system from even before making it into the NFL. But despite the ability and talents of Murray, if the Eagles want to make the most of him for a number of years and not just squeeze him for all he’s got, it’s going to be a patient, limited ride that means drastically reducing the number of times he touches the ball.