Shurmur: ‘Last Year Is Last Year’ For DeMarco Murray

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

DeMarco Murray‘s long, strange winter of discontent continued in the Eagles’ 40-17 loss to the Cardinals, when the $40 million running back saw just eight offensive snaps, and carried the ball twice for three yards.

After attempting to ride Murray through early season struggles, it seems as if the Eagles’ coaches have taken a different approach over the last three games. After averaging 18 carries per game from Weeks 5 to 12, he has averaged seven carries in the team’s last three outings.

Pat Shurmur was asked about Murray’s diminishing workload before Tuesday’s practice, and the offensive coordinator reiterated that the team likes to have a platoon of running backs rather than a single workhorse, citing health as as main reason.

He also tried to distance Murray’s 2014 NFL Offensive Player of the Year status from what the running back has cobbled together this season.

“All that was last year, and that was his situation in Dallas,” Shurmur said when Murray’s triumphant 2014 season was referenced. “I’ve got a great deal of respect for DeMarco. We need him to play at his best, and when he’s out there, we need him to put good reps on the field. That’s where we’re at. Last year’s last year, next year will be a different story. We’re at the end of this year.”

The Eagles signed Murray to a five-year, $40 million contract this offseason largely on the merits of what the 27-year-old back showed in 2014, when he led the league in rushing yards and carried the ball more than any other running back in the league.

This year, Murray has rushed for 606 yards on 176 carries, looking largely average.

“If we had one running back that was far and away better than the other ones, then you would see, probably, a guy get the very, very most of the snaps,” Shurmur said. “We just happen to have guys that we think are good, and we don’t mind when they’re in there. I think [Ryan Mathews] was in the game, he had over five yards a carry. [Darren Sproles] didn’t really get as much going, running the ball, but he’s certainly a threat in the pass game.

“If we had to go back on it, it would be nice for him to get in there a little bit more. It didn’t happen. Part of it was, we didn’t run the ball, or have as many plays as we want to.”

Shurmur mentioned that he spoke to Murray on Monday, which is a day off for the players. Shurmur downplayed the significance, saying he talks to his players on almost a daily basis.

“I spoke to him yesterday, I speak to him on a daily basis, and he’s really good now,” Shurmur said. “When he comes in, he trains, he’s doing things he supposed to do. But he’s like any other guy who wants the ball every play, and is disappointed when he doesn’t get it, or doesn’t get it as much as he thinks he should have.”

Injury update: Cornerbacks missing at practice

The Eagles’ secondary is in flux, with both Byron Maxwell (shoulder) and Eric Rowe (concussion) missing practice today.

No practice for Bennie Logan or Seyi Ajirotutu, either.