Eagles Notes: Shurmur Talks Diminishing DeMarco
From Week 5 to Week 12, DeMarco Murray didn’t have a single game with fewer than 13 rush attempts.
In the Eagles’ last two games, both wins, Murray has run eight and 11 times, respectively.
Pat Shurmur was asked Tuesday why Murray’s workload has shifted and the Eagles’ offense has split carries more evenly between its stable of running backs.
“I think we had a good flow, I think every one of those guys contributed, and we won the game,” Shurmur said.
When pressed on the issue, Shurmur went into a little more detail on the virtues of having a balanced rushing attack.
“We have what we think to be four really good running backs, so we want to use them all,” Shurmur explained. “I think, if you put a really good player in a game and he’s fresher as you go, you get a little bit more out of him. When you have a featured back, I think that’s the unintended consequence of saying we only have one guy, it’s the chicken or the egg, because then that guy takes a lot of pounding, a lot of wear and tear.
Shurmur was asked if the coaches are disappointed by the fact that Murray, who is making by far the most money of any running back on the team, has not established himself as the offense’s marquee rushing option.
“Why are we going to make that judgement?” Shurmur asked, rhetorically. “Are we going to base it on how much the players make? How much he plays? We’re trying to win football games, and we want to put fresh running backs in the game. Some of that is the outside drama added to this, and I’ve mentioned we just want to play football.”
Jenkins’ return to nickel a boost
Billy Davis touched on the Eagles’ secondary combinations, and changes they’ve made since the two huge losses to Tampa Bay and Detroit.
“Every week has a different challenge,” Davis said. You have to kind of look at your match ups first. I think the two games we played our worst, we had Malcolm [Jenkins] out of the nickel spot.
“[Since then] we’ve put him back down in the nickel spot, kept him low, and it’s been good for the last two weeks. It’s a week-to-week deal, and we’re just trying to find out, who do we match up with best, and how do we put them in positions to make plays?”
Davis was then asked why he decided to take Jenkins out of the nickel spot in the two losses.
“They have a lot of talent at the outside receivers, Tampa Bay and the Lions, so we were trying to get our safeties over top of those guys and have the extra guys there. We were trying to have Malcolm over the top of some of those better receivers.
“It didn’t work out so well, so we put him back down there.”
Fletcher Cox’s Pro Bowl case
Fletcher Cox had one of his most dominating performances of the year against Buffalo’s defensive line on Sunday, and after the game Rex Ryan said he’s stopped laughing at people who compare Cox to Eagles great Jerome Brown.
But Cox, who had a Pro Bowl argument last season, doesn’t fill stat sheets with sacks the way players like J.J. Watt do.
Davis was asked about how tough it is to quantify Cox’s contributions, and whether his lack of eye-catching stats will hurt him when it comes to Pro Bowl decisions.
“He’s not overlooked by his peers. The players will vote him in, the coaches will vote him in,” Davis said. “Anybody that puts the tape on or has gone against him, I think that’s a no-brainer, they’ll vote him in.
“The problem lies in the fan vote, and that’s where we have to help [Cox]. If we can get that fan vote up, because that’s where people just look at stats and say, ‘Hey, let me vote on this guy for his stats.’ Well, if you’ve played against him, you’re going to vote for him. If you’ve coached against him, you’re going to vote for him. Now we just have to get the fans out there.”
Jordan Matthews, who was listed as questionable with a back injury before playing in the Eagles’ win over Buffalo, did not participate in practice on Tuesday.
Matt Tobin and Allen Barbre come out with no helmets. Looks like no practice for Jordan Matthews.
— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) December 15, 2015
No sign of Byron Maxwell during DB drills.
— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) December 15, 2015