Week 2 Quick Reads
by Vincent Verhei
After winning 10 games in each of Chip Kelly's first two seasons, the Philadelphia Eagles have gotten off to an 0-2 start in 2015. The worst part of that start is that Kelly's drag race offense, developed at the University of Oregon and so successful in his first two NFL seasons, has ground to a halt. After ranking third in offensive DVOA in 2013 and 13th (with Mark Sanchez at quarterback) in 2014, the Eagles rank 26th in 2015 (and yes, all numbers in this essay do include the results of the Jets-Colts game on Monday night).
Sam Bradford and the passing game have not been the problem. Of course, he hasn't necessarily been the solution either, but the bigger problem has been DeMarco Murray -- and even moreso, his offensive line. The Eagles are 18th in passing DVOA, but next to last in rushing DVOA. And while the Denver Broncos as a team have fared even worse than Philadelphia, no single runner has struggled anymore than Murray. There are 36 running backs with at least 20 carries this season, and Murray is last among that group in both rushing DYAR and DVOA . Murray has already been stuffed eight times for no gain or a loss in just two games, putting him in the top ten among all runners in this dubious category. (Marshawn Lynch leads the league with 11.) That's obviously bad news, but it's even worse because Murray is just 31st in total carries. All told, Eagles running backs have been stuffed on 39 percent of their carries this year, the highest rate in the league and nearly double the average rate of 20 percent. Only two other clubs are even higher than 30 percent. The highest stuff rate we have on record is the 31 percent of the 2005 Arizona Cardinals, Marcel Shipp led that team with 451 yards on the ground, followed by the 370 yards of J.J. Arrington and the 139 yards of Josh McCown (!). Obviously, it's very early, but Murray and the Eagles have officially put that mark in danger.
On Sunday, Murray and the Eagles hit an amazing level of futility. His first eight carries resulted in a total loss of 15 yards -- and I stress, that is not a total gain of 15 yards, that is a total loss of 15 yards. He had some better runs late in the game, including some third-and-1 conversions, but he still finished with only 2 yards on 13 carries. Looking at Murray's carries one at a time shows just how consistently futile he and the Eagles were against Dallas:
|DeMarco Murray Rushing vs. Cowboys, Carry-By-Carry|
|Down||Distance||Yard line||Time||Quarter||Score||Yards||1st Down|