The ascent and the descent of DeMarco Murray


Published on Apr 12, 2020


In the course of only four years, DeMarco Murray went from being the Offensive Player of the Year and was the fulcrum of an attack extremely productive, to the withdrawal. The former running back of the Cowboys, Eagles and Titans has had to deal with countless physical problems in the course of his career, due to the high number of touches to which he has been subjected since their college days. The peak reached by Murray, or the sensational 2014 season, remains one of the best vintages of all time for a running back, but far away from Dallas, the talent of Las Vegas has never even approached success in Texas. This is therefore the path of DeMarco Murray from last season with the Cowboys, to 2018, the year in which he has definitely decided to hang the shoes to the nail.

Before going into the historic 2014 season, it is necessary to make an introduction to the former “workhorse” of the Cowboys. Dallas in fact had selected Murray in the third round of the Draft in 2011, the year in which before him were selected five other running back (Mark Ingram, Ryan Williams, Shane Vereen, Mikel Leshoure and Daniel Thomas). In the course of his four years at Oklahoma, the court of Bob Stoops, Murray had already accumulated more than 900 touches in 40 games; numbers with which the running back was able to live without suffering special injury, showing how one of the players the most complete of its role (as shown by the 1214 yards rushing and 594 on reception made the report in his senior year). The Cowboys, therefore they invested their choice no. 71, with the aim of finding a player capable of fulfilling the gaps of Felix Jones, the running back in the holder.

The impact of Murray on the game Dallas has been amazing since his rookie year, as the injury suffered by Jones at the beginning of the 2011 season had opened the doors to the product of Oklahoma, which has been ready at the first opportunity. Once you have beaten the competition Tashard Choice, Murray put put a best 253-yard run in his first game in charge against the Rams (ninth performance of all time for rushing yards in a game), emerging as a present and future cornerstone of the attack of the texans. In his rookie season the Cowboys did record a budget of 8-8, in which Dallas has racked up a 5-0 in games in which Murray has over 20 or more times and a 2-6 however, when this has not happened. However, the season of the running back was shortened by a fracture to the right ankle that forced her to miss the final three races of the season. The same plot was resumed in the following season, in which Murray had to stay away from the fields for six games because of another foot injury.

Murray began to carve out more space and find continuity for the first time in 2013, the year in which he collected his first full season, 1000 yards, by putting themselves on show as the second running back the most efficient in the NFL, according to the advanced statistics “DYAR”. This statistical item evaluates the efficiency of the players by comparing them with an equal role of the reserve. Therefore, track the performance difference between the player in question and reserves, to reflect its true value. Despite the balance achieved by the attack of Dallas, the deductible in 2013, he found himself for the third consecutive year with a budget of 8-8, the result is still insufficient in key playoff.

Perfecting the ultimate attack of the Cowboys arrived in April of 2014, when Jerry Jones opted for guard Zack Martin with the 16th overall pick, seek out a player from his rookie year to now is returned to the well four times in the “First team All-Pro. In the 2014 season, Dallas has experienced its peak offensive to the most high from the mid - ’90s, with the emergence of DeMarco Murray behind the best line in the offensive in the NFL. In particular, the Cowboys were able to exploit to the maximum the characteristics of the running back: Murray, in fact, can be defined as a “one-cut guy”, or a player that is able to express the maximum when, after receiving the ball, makes a change of direction, they found an open crack from the line offensive. This is achieved with the quarterback “under center” that takes the ball out of the hands of the center and serves it to the running back, in the meantime, is already in the race. The natural power of Murray allowed him in fact to force his way between the men of the line, and grind yard all the time. Also with Murray that ran on the average about 24 times per game, was much more effective the play of Tony Romo in the “play-action”, that in 2014, in particular, was the ninth most efficient in the league. At the end of the season, in fact, the quarterback did record 8.5 yards per pass, his career-best, and also Dez Bryant it has benefited, collecting a 15-yard reception.

Therefore, with an offensive game that is balanced and two-dimensional, the Cowboys have made their way in the 2014 season. DeMarco Murray opened his year with eight performances in succession for at least 100 yards rushing, breaking the record of Jim Brown and setting a record that still remains unbeaten. On 16 matches played in fact, Murray has reached at least 100 yards in 12 games, going 7 times over the 120. Dallas also scored in the 2014 budget of 11-2 in games in which Murray ran at least 20 times, and a budget of 1-2 in those where this is not the case. The team led by Jason Garrett with a very good 12-4 won the NFC East, but after beating Detoit in the Wild Card Game, the adventure of the America's Team has been interrupted at Lambeau Field, in the infamous match in which he was denied a reception to Dez Bryant near the end zone. In the third quarter of that game, DeMarco Murray lost a fumble which cost dear to the Cowboys, his sixth of the season on 392 course.

In 2014, the numbers of Murray were definitely out of the normal, starting from the touches. The 392 flow rates, and the 449 touches of surface are respectively seventh and sixth in the ranking of all-time. From those touches, however, burst with 1845 yards rushing with 13 touchdowns and 4.7 yards per flow, as well as other 416 yards receiving. These numbers allowed him to be named “Offensive Player of the Year” and gain a place in the “First team All-Pro” with his men of the line, Zack Martin and Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick placed instead in the second team.

In that season, Murray went to register the value of “DYAR” the most high, putting at least a season as a running back the most efficient in the NFL. From 2014, the value of 382 in the item statistics has not been replicated by anyone, and is also the second highest of the last 10 years, tied with the 2010 season played by Jamaal Charles, and under only the 2012 season of Adrian Peterson.

Despite the historic season just played and the excellent relationship between Murray and the organization, the Cowboys decided not to satisfy the contractual requests of Murray, which had just expired the contract as a rookie. This move proved to be decisive in the future, as the running back has experienced a clear decline in the years to follow, and the front office would have repented of the agreement made to sign Murray. The running back, in fact, see their point of maximum production in the first 4 or 5 years of their career, therefore under the contract as a rookie. For this, players like Todd Gurley have opted for an extension with the relative increase of the wage before the expiry of the contract so as to be able to monetize in their peak moment, without the risk of having to, instead, rip out a contract onerous in the course of a physical decline. In fact, at a distance of two years, the contract signed by Gurley with the Rams has not proved to be reasonable, because the player was cut from the team just two years after winning the award “Offensive Player of the Year”.

DeMarco Murray, therefore, having left the Cowdopo boys came to divisional rivals the Philadelphia Eagles, with whom he secured a contract from 42 million in 5 years, with 18 million fully guaranteed. Strongly wanted by head coach Chip Kelly, DeMarco Murray proved to be the right token to insert it into the running game of the “spread offense” of the Eagles. In the poor performance inanellate from Murray with the Eagles, it is important to place as the conditions that the running back has gone from having the best line offensive in the protection of the races to have the penultimate and especially the pivotal point of the decline of the Murray has been the change of offensive system. The goal of Chip Kelly with the “spread offense”, a system that does extend the defense along the entire line, is to create a space conducive to extend the play along the line of scrimmage. Most of the flow rates of the Murray have come from the “shotgun formation”, and therefore the running back after taking the ball from a standstill, had to view the entire line of scrimmage and look for the point where they can run, a game system that is completely the opposite of what he had valued the Cowboys. In this type of system have achieved the best results Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles, all of whom have in fact ousted Murray from the role of the owner in the course of the season. The system of Kelly, in fact, made the most of running back elusive and explosive, two characteristics that do not coincide precisely with the profile of Murray




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