DeMarco Murray has struggled in his first two games with the Philadelphia Eagles. After a 9-yard effort in Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons, he totaled 2 rushing yards against his former team, the Dallas Cowboys, in Week 2. A study of Murray's usage with the Cowboys in contrast to his usage with the Eagles examines why he isn't performing like the 2014 rushing champion.
Not enough touches
In Week 1 against the Falcons, Murray had eight rushes for 9 yards, including a rushing and receiving touchdown. He had 63 carries of 9 or more yards last season, the most in the league.
Murray has carried the ball 21 times this season, 34 players have more carries than he does. Murray had at least 19 carries in every game last season.
Murray's 11 rushing yards on the season are fewer than 95 other players in the NFL, including 21 quarterbacks. Ryan Mallett, Carson Palmer, Nick Foles and Josh McCown, who missed Week 2 with concussion symptoms, are among the list of quarterbacks with more rushing yards than Murray this season.
With Murray a key piece in the
backfield last season, the Cowboys ran a league-high 48 percent of the time, the highest percentage of any team in the previous two seasons. The Eagles are running about once every four plays this season.
The Eagles' pass-first offense has not fared well thus far as Sam Bradford has the second-most pass attempts of any quarterback but has the worst Total QBR (24.0) among 32 qualified quarterbacks.
Perhaps one reason for the pass-heavy attack is the score. The Eagles trailed for all but four minutes of their Week 1 contest against the Falcons. The Eagles have run 113 offensive snaps when trailing in games this season, fourth-most of any team in the NFL.
Too much shotgun
Murray had a career-high 10 carries out of the shotgun in Week 2. This did not free up any room for him as he had minus-2 yards before contact on those plays.
Despite receiving handoffs deep in the backfield, Murray had less room to operate than he did with the Cowboys last season. He is averaging minus-0.1 yards before contact per rush, almost three full yards fewer than the 2.82 he averaged in 2014.