Eagles turning to running back by committee
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly is going running back by committee the rest of the season as his team tries to win the NFC East for the second time in three years.
DeMarco Murray, who signed a five-year, $40 million contract with the Eagles this past offseason with $21 million guaranteed, was demoted in Sunday's upset of the New England Patriots.
Kelly said the roles are dependent on weekly matchups and health. Murray was on the field for just 14 snaps against the Patriots, carrying eight times for 24 yards. Ryan Mathews, who missed three games with a concussion, was back at practice Tuesday.
''It's a good problem to have when you have some backs that when you used all three of them, all three of them are productive for you,'' Kelly said. ''Again, it's always, as you figure out the week, who you're playing and what you've got available to you.''
Kelly said immediately after the win Sunday that he liked the matchup of smaller, quicker backs against New England's bigger linebackers. Darren Sproles gained 66 yards on 15 carries and Kenjon Barner gained 39 yards on nine carries.
This week the Eagles host the Buffalo Bills and Rex Ryan's aggressive front seven.
''We have four good running backs and we're comfortable with all of them,'' offensive coordinator Pat Shumur said.
Kelly was non-committal on how he'll use his running backs over the final four weeks of the season. Murray has just 569 yards this season after leading the NFL in rushing last season with the Cowboys. He said the players knew their roles before playing the Patriots.
''We are not trying to win a rushing championship or a passing championship or a receiving championship or anything from that stretch of the imagination,'' he said. ''We are just trying to win football games.''
Sometimes that means throwing a lot, other games it means rushing more than passing, he said.
''At the end of the day you're judged on did you win or did you lose,'' Kelly said.
NOTES: The Eagles signed linebacker Steven Means off the Houston Texans practice squad to fill the roster spot created when they released veteran wide receiver Miles Austin on Monday. Means, 6-3, 263, was originally a 2013 fifth-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
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- Darren Sproles
- DeMarco Murray
- Houston Texans
- Kenjon Barner
- Miles Austin
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Ryan Mathews
- Steven Means