| Running Back, Philadelphia Eagles
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|Draft: 2010 Round 1 (12)
College: Fresno State
DOB: 1987-10-10 Age: 28
|After sharing the running back duties with Mike Tolbert last season, Mathews appears ready to take over a workhorse back role with San Diego in 2012. Tolbert signed with Carolina as a free agent and the Chargers will enter the season with the uninspiring trio of Ronnie Brown, Le’Ron McClain and Curtis Brinkley in reserve behind Mathews. That should translate into plenty of touches for the talented Mathews. He enters the season having had a very productive 2011 with 1,545 total yards and six touchdowns despite missing two full games and playing nicked up in several others. Tolbert saw plenty of action last season both as a short yardage runner and the teams’ third down back, pilfering 10 touchdowns. Look for Mathews to assume most of that workload, giving him an opportunity to approach 2,000 total yards and reach double-digit touchdowns for the first time in his career. The only risk with Mathews is his penchant for getting hurt (six missed games over the first two years of his career) but reports out of San Diego indicate that he is in the best shape of his career. He is a legitimate RB1 in 2012 and likely to be amongst the top five fantasy producers at running back.
| Ryan Mathews earning more carries -- Tue Sep 29 9:47 am --|
Eagles RB committee breakdown is shifting
|The Eagles' game plan for the Jets similarly had a different flavor than the vanilla one used in the opener in Atlanta. The outside zone run became the go-to play for an offense that relied on the inside zone in Chip Kelly's first two seasons.
Ryan Mathews thrived on the outside zone plays. He motored around the corner for 27 yards on his first carry - breaking two tackles along the way - and later picked up an additional 40 yards on eight outside zone runs. (Philadelphia Enquirer)|
FF Today's Take: With DeMarco Murray sidelined with a hamstring injury, Mathews looked sharp as the lead runner, with Darren Sproles contributing plenty of output in the passing game and on special teams. Murray's lingering injury issues could slide more work to Mathews in the coming weeks.
| DeMarco Murray inactive -- Sun Sep 27 11:30 am --|
|DeMarco Murray is inactive. (Adam Schefter on Twitter)|
FF Today's Take: With Murray inactive, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles should handle the bulk of the running back work for the Eagles.
| DeMarco Murray won't practice Thursday -- Thu Sep 24 12:15 pm --|
Status for Sunday uncertain
|DeMarco Murray remains a mystery for Sunday.
Eagles coach Chip Kelly told reporters on Thursday that his starting running back is still being evaluated for a hamstring injury ahead of this weekend's matchup with the New York Jets. Murray won't practice Thursday and the team isn't sure if he'll suit up for Week 3.
FF Today's Take: We'll monitor practice reports Friday and Saturday but it sounds like Murray is shaping up to be a gametime decision. Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles would see increased touches if Murray sits. The Eagles and Jets play early Sunday.
|Eagles want to get Sproles more involved -- Thu Sep 3 4:20 pm --|
Eagles hinting at more two-back sets in 2015?
|The coaching staff has consistently said they want to get Darren Sproles involved more, and you saw why on Sam Bradford’s first touchdown pass against the Packers.
"We'd like to get him the ball steadily and consistently, and he certainly is a unique, outstanding player," OC Pat Shurmur said. "We just need to make sure we get him the ball, and we have a plan to do that."
The more you use Sproles, the more you can use him as a decoy as well. He draws a lot of attention from defenses, which is why I expect to see more two running back sets this season. (Philly Mag: Birds 24/7)|
FF Today's Take: The Eagles have spent a bit of time talking up Sproles this summer despite the additions of DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews, even floating out the idea of using him in the slot. Some beat writers have a suggested a 65/30/5 split (Murray-Mathews-Sproles) for the Eagles' backfield, although it is extremely like Sproles will see heavy action in two-minute drills, third-down situations or whenever the team is trailing late.
|Murray doesn't expect to alternate series at RB -- Thu Aug 27 4:45 pm --|
Rushing champ claims Eagles' rotation hasn't been decided yet
|On Tuesday, DeMarco Murray was asked how he expects the rotation to play out. Will the RBs alternate series? Will they spell one another during a drive?
"I don't think it will be alternating series," Murray said. "But [Ryan Mathews] is a quality back, great guy, works extremely hard. I'm sure he'll get his fair share of touches. But I don't know how the rotation will be yet, we haven't touched on it."
Murray explained that against the Ravens, the Eagles were just trying to get all three top running backs time with the first-team offense. (CSN Philly)|
FF Today's Take: It is almost inconceivable that Philadelphia hasn't discussed the backfield situation yet, but this week's dress-rehearsal preseason game should give us a clue into how HC Chip Kelly intends to utilize Murray, Mathews and Darren Sproles. One possible outcome could be that Murray starts and cedes one series per half and most early-down relief work to Mathews while Sproles handles most of the third down work. As such, Murray should probably be treated as a low-end RB1 at most.
|Chip Kelly talks running back usage -- Mon Aug 17 7:00 am --|
"I wanted to have two running backs"
|“I think there is a lot of validity to it,” he said. “But how do you manage him going into a season? Our plan all along was to get another running back with him (DeMarco Murray). 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.” (SI.com)|
FF Today's Take: Reading between the lines, Kelly is well aware of how a running back performs following a heavy-workload season and while Murray will be the lead back in the offense, he's going to use Mathews more than people might think. The Eagles run enough plays for Murray to be considered a RB1 even if he splits carries at a 70-30 clip with Mathews.
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