MAADDI: Eagles' Kelly changes story on why Mathews didn't get more carries
PHILADELPHIA — Ryan Mathews consistently makes things happen when the Philadelphia Eagles give him the ball.
He just doesn't it get often.
For whatever reason, Chip Kelly doesn't call Mathews' number as much as he should. Instead, DeMarco Murray gets a majority of the carries for the Eagles (3-4).
Each time Kelly is asked why Mathews doesn't play more, he says running backs coach Duce Staley is responsible for rotating Murray, Mathews and Darren Sproles.
He gave that response again after Mathews had 97 yards rushing on six carries, including a 63-yard TD run in a 27-16 loss at Carolina on Sunday night. Murray had 18 carries for 65 yards.
After Mathews gained 22 yards on a run in the second quarter, the Eagles ran 20 plays before he got it again. All he did was break loose for the long TD run that pulled the Eagles within 21-13 in the third quarter.
But Mathews got one more carry the rest of the game.
On Monday, Kelly changed his story. He said Mathews injured his groin on the 22-yard run and that's why he didn't get the ball much.
Neither Mathews nor Kelly mentioned the injury after the game. Mathews didn't appear to receive treatment for an injury.
"He was in there, but pass plays were called when he was in there," Kelly explained after the game.
Well, Sam Bradford averaged just 4.5 yards per pass attempt, so giving Mathews more carries — he's averaging 6.1 yards per carry — was the better option.
The Eagles started their next series after Mathews' score at the Panthers 18 following an interception. They ran seven plays and settled for a field goal. Mathews wasn't on the field for any of the plays while Murray ran three times for 1 yard.
Murray hasn't looked anything like the guy who led the NFL in rushing last year with Dallas. He has 304 yards rushing and is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry.
Mathews has 342 yards rushing and an average of 6.1 per carry. He's faster than Murray and seems to hit holes much quicker.
Perhaps money is a factor. Murray signed a five-year, $42 million contract with $18 million guaranteed. Mathews got a three-year deal for $11.5 million with $7.5 million guaranteed.