Eagles

Remembering DeMarco Murray's one weird season with Eagles

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Remembering DeMarco Murray's one weird season with Eagles

The one thing I’ll always remember about DeMarco Murray is just how pissed off he always looked.

Every Thursday in the locker room was Murray’s day to speak to reporters. So a huge crowd would gather around and Murray would furrow his brow and power his way through the sessions with a tenacity we never really saw from him on the field while in Philly.

Murray, 30, has announced his retirement after a seven-year career in the NFL. 

*Shrugs shoulders*

Alright.

After the Eagles won a Super Bowl last season, it’s almost hard to remember when it was a big deal that Murray signed with the Eagles as a free agent. Just three years later, it all seems like a bad dream most of us have forgotten.

But if you give some effort, you’ll probably remember how Murray became an Eagle. It was the offseason before the 2015 season and Chip Kelly was now in control. Frank Gore was going to sign with the Eagles but backed out and went to Indianapolis instead. Then Kelly signed Murray and Ryan Mathews. The two former Pro Bowlers were actually in the building at the very same time.

That was a weird beginning for Murray in Philly and things never got any less weird.

He came off an 1,800-yard season in Dallas when he was named the Offensive Player of the Year, but he never really seemed happy in Philly. Maybe it was the rotation, maybe it was that Kelly unapologetically misused him, maybe he didn’t like that it got cold in the winter. Whatever the reason, Murray wasn’t a good fit on the field or off of it.

During that season, Murray rushed for just 702 yards and averaged 3.6 yards per carry. That season was sandwiched between an 1,800-yard year in Dallas and a 1,200-yard year in Tennessee.

Murray wasn’t very good in Philly, but that was his most lucrative season in the NFL. He earned $9 million in 2015 and his signing was a tick mark against Kelly, who was fired before the season even ended.

More than anything, Murray will be known for the slide against the Dolphins and for reportedly voicing his displeasure to owner Jeff Lurie. He also questioned the coaching staff, including Kelly, to Lurie.

So maybe Eagles fans should thank Murray. Eventually, the owner agreed and canned the head coach/GM and put Howie Roseman back in charge. Roseman then undid the signing and shipped Murray off to Tennessee and the Eagles won the Super Bowl two years later.

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Carson Wentz to resume full-team drills starting Sunday

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Carson Wentz to resume full-team drills starting Sunday

There’s some good — albeit expected — news with Carson Wentz.

When the Eagles return to practice on Sunday, Wentz will be back in 11-on-11 drills.

Earlier this week, Wentz said he expected to be back in full-team drills this coming week (see story). That’s according to the master plan set forth by the Eagles’ coaches and doctors.

Early in training camp, Wentz was involved in 11-on-11 drills but the team backed off after a few days. Doug Pederson said he saw what he wanted from Wentz and the team didn’t want to expose him to any unnecessary risk.

With less than three weeks until the season opener, Wentz is still targeting a Week 1 return. The last hurdle will still be to get cleared for contact. That hasn’t happened yet.

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Eagles' 0-2 preseason start no reason to panic

Eagles' 0-2 preseason start no reason to panic

The way things are going, the Eagles are going to have a tough time winning that preseason Lombardi Trophy. They’re 0-2 in the preseason, and for the first time in over 40 years they’ve lost both of their first two preseason games by at least 17 points.

All of which means precisely nothing.

If we haven’t learned yet, we’ll never learn. Preseason scores mean nothing. Preseason records mean nothing. Getting a team ready for the regular season is all that matters.

This is a time to count down the days until the Eagles begin defense of their NFL championship. Not a time to panic. Or even be concerned.

If Bill Belichick wants to play Tom Brady for a full half and blitz and stunt more than most teams in a preseason game? Let him have his fun. Doesn’t change what happened in Minneapolis on Feb. 4.

This is a very talented, very deep Eagles team, and there’s no reason to think they’re not primed for another deep run.

Yeah, the offense looks out of sync. But Doug Pederson isn’t game planning for anybody right now. There’s no reason to. Two years ago, when Pederson was a rookie coach trying to establish a culture, he thought his team needed to learn how to win, and the Eagles went 4-0 in the preseason. That summer, that’s what that group needed.

Now? The explosive offense that roared to the Super Bowl title is under wraps and stays that way until Sept. 6.

And no Jason Peters, no Darren Sproles, no Nelson Agholor, no Carson Wentz doesn’t help.

Of that group, Wentz is the only one who might not be ready by opening day. And I still think he’s going to play against the Falcons.

But even if he doesn’t, I never worry about Nick Foles and how bad he looks in the preseason because as we learned last winter, when it’s go time, he’s ready. Foles has this weird ability to look really, really bad until he has to look good. And then he plays lights out.

Alshon Jeffery is a concern, but he’ll be back eventually. And if the price of his absence now is his performance down the stretch and in the playoffs, nobody would say it wasn’t worth it.

With Jeffery rehabbing, we’ve seen Shelton Gibson blossom (see story). I love what I’ve seen from Gibson, and his growth from a guy who was lost last year into the confident playmaker we’ve seen the last couple weeks is remarkable. He's going to help this team.

This is a deep, talented group of wideouts, and if the Eagles have to line up a couple weeks with Agholor, Mike Wallace, Gibson and say Kamar Aiken and Mack Hollins alongside Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert and a couple exceptional pass-catching backs? They’ll be fine.

And while we’ve focused on a disappointing battle for the fourth running back spot, Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement and Sproles are all healthy and ready to go. That’s a heck of a running back room.

OK, let’s take a look at where the first-team defense is halfway through the preseason.

They allowed two yards in two drives against a collection of Steelers starters and backups. Good start.

And Thursday night they played three series against Brady and Co. They were on the field 21 plays against Brady and other than the three personal fouls, which is something they need to learn from, they really just allowed two bad plays — a James White run that went for 22 yards (that Jordan Hicks probably should have stuffed at the line of scrimmage) and a short Brady pass to White that was nicely blocked and went for 18 yards.

And one touchdown that came when Brady got a favorable matchup in the end zone between a seventh-year veteran wide receiver and a rookie slot corner, Avonte Maddox.

Maddox allowing a TD to Tom Brady isn’t cause for concern. It’s tremendous experience for a 22-year-old playing in his second NFL preseason game against the greatest of all time.

The Eagles didn’t care about this game. Sure seemed like the Patriots did.

Brady threw more passes than he’s thrown in any preseason game sine 2006 and more than he’s ever thrown in a second preseason game. In 19 seasons.

Doug Pederson has nothing to prove in August. Not anymore.

So for the Eagles, these games are to get long looks at the young guys, to experiment with players in various positions and groupings, to get veterans work when they need it, and to prepare for the regular season.

Things can look pretty ugly in preseason football when you’re not trying to win.

For the Eagles, it’s all about being ready on Sept. 6.

And they will be ready. No matter what we're seeing now.

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