By Mary Cunningham
Only 10 days remain before the start of Eagles training camp, and I must say I cannot wait because:
We’ll have something to think about and write about besides the numerous rankings and ratings by “experts” who essentially are Fantasy Football types on steroids!
Just the other day, NFL.com rated Eagles running back DeMarco Murray as No. 4 — that is, the fourth-best player in the entire league.
That sounded a tad high, but wait till you see where Bill Barnwell of Grantland.com rates the newbie Bird:
100. DeMarco Murray, RB, Eagles (fourth on NFL Top 100)
Murray made an 83-spot rise on the NFL’s list, and while he had a dominant season in 2014, it’s also difficult to project that he’ll be playing at that level moving forward, because of his propensity for injury. Murray missed 11 of his first 48 games as a pro before last season. His first healthy season in 2014 is both a blessing (since it is evidence he can make it through a heavy workload unscathed) and a curse (since workloads that heavy — he had 392 regular-season carries — are often followed by injuries, a downswing in per-carry performance, or sheer regression toward the mean).
Even if you factor in that 2014 campaign, his average line over the past three seasons as the starting running back in Dallas is 257-1,210-9; that leaves him about equivalent to Jamaal Charles, who has been far more consistent while averaging 250-1,276-9 over that same three-year span behind an inferior offensive line. Murray will be behind another good offensive line in Philly in 2015, and he’s unquestionably one of the league’s best running backs when healthy, but the vast majority of evidence suggests Murray won’t be available for all 16 games.