Sportress of Blogitude

Chip Kelly admits concern over DeMarco Murray’s workload in 2014

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The Philadelphia Eagles landed the most coveted running back available during the offseason by signing DeMarco Murray to a five-year, $42 million contract. The team has been particularly cautious with the running back during organized team activities and training camp, mostly due to the fact that Murray had an extremely onerous workload while leading the Cowboys to the playoffs during the 2014 season.

Eagles head coach Chip Kelly revealed that there are organizational concerns over how Murray will emerge after the pounding he took with the Cowboys last season, admitting that there are legitimate reasons to be worried about Murray being left with less in the tank this season as a result.

“I think there is a lot of validity to it,” Kelly told SI’s Peter King. “But how do you manage him going into a season? Our plan all along was to get another running back with him. I wanted to have two running backs, and that’s why we got Ryan [Mathews]. I don’t think you can have a guy carry it 370 to 400 times per season and be successful. We’re going to run it a lot—we always do—but we’ll have more than one guy doing it.”

In the 2014 regular season alone, Murray carried the ball 392 times and had an additional 57 receptions out of the backfield, an almost absurd amount of touches. Tack on 44 additional carries in the postseason and Murray was forced to absorb a lot of punishment and wear and tear on his then-26-year-old body.

But it appears the Eagles will continue to carefully monitor Murray’s workload, even ahead of the regular season. He was held out of the team’s first preseason game on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. Odds are good Murray won’t see too much action throughout the balance of the exhibition season, either.

It’s better to be safe than sorry, in other words. Especially when it comes to maximizing the productivity out of a $42 million free agent when the games begin to actually matter. And from that point? That will be the trickier part for Kelly and the Eagles.