Last season, DeMarco Murray put out career numbers with the Dallas Cowboys. Murray had 1,845 rush yards and 13 TDs in the 2014-2015 regular season and showed potential to be the next Emmitt Smith-type go-to-guy on third downs for Dallas. But Dallas wasn’t ready to pay Murray what the Eagles were willing to pay him. Murray signed with the Eagles on March 12, 2015. The deal is a 5 year, $40 Million dollar deal which includes a $21 Million dollars guaranteed. The deal calmed the waves of uncertainty in Philadelphia after they had gotten rid of their star running back LeSean McCoy to the Bills in exchange for an unproven linebacker in Kiko Alonso.
What people are forgetting here is that the Philadelphia Eagles do not by any means have a standout offensive line like the Dallas Cowboys did when Murray put up all those numbers. Murray had a solid, standout offensive line he could run behind all day. From left to right it was Tyron Smith protecting the blind side of Tony Romo, Ronald Leary at Left Guard, Travis Frederick at Center, Zack Martin at Right Guard, and Doug Free at Right Tackle. Three of those five starters represented the Dallas Offensive line in this years pro bowl. Take a look at the link below, it shows that most, if not all, of his big runs involved everyone sinking their backside, putting their hands on defenders, and drive blocking all the way down the field, which created huge holes for DeMarco to run through. For a running back of his caliber, it makes life so much easier for him when he can see the field in front of him, read what the defenders are doing, find the holes, cut back if he needs to, and explode through to the secondary.
Don’t get me wrong, Murray is an explosive, elite running back and deserved all of the credit and attention he received for his outstanding accomplishments last season. My point is, DeMarco Murray is a completely different running back than LeSean McCoy. Both runners are quick, explosive, fast, and elite, but McCoy is more of a Barry Sanders cut-back type of running back that can be absolutely deadly in the open field. That’s why even with average to below average blocking up front by the Eagles, McCoy was still able to put up unbelievable numbers because he was able to cut back and make defenders look like idiots.
DeMarco Murray, as you saw in the previous highlight tape, is more of an Emmitt Smith style runner. He’s explosive, he’s quick, but he’d rather lower his shoulder and hit a defender than dance around them like LeSean McCoy successfully does. If the Eagles don’t improve their offensive line, Murray could be in for more of a beating up front than he might expect. Even with his lower-the-shoulder type running style, that will start to wear on him and he won’t be able to break as many tackles as he did in previous seasons. If you look back at the tapes, you’ll notice on average how many defenders are chasing each running back on certain plays. In the LeSean McCoy tape, you’ll notice a few more defenders chasing after him and more people McCoy has to juke out of the way from. That is a result from a lack of blocking. If DeMarco Murray can somehow adjust to the style of running LeSean McCoy was so successful at, then Murray can have yet another standout season. If Murray can’t adjust and has to deal with the amount of free defenders McCoy had to deal with, there’s no chance that Murray will have a successful season.