Don't expect Eagles to change split approach to running game

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) Don't expect the Philadelphia Eagles to change their split approach to the running game, dividing work fairly evening among four backs.

It worked in a 23-30 win over Buffalo on Sunday, and looks to be the way the Eagles will attempt a playoff run in the final three weeks of the regular season.

DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles all played almost equal snaps and Kenjon Barner also saw some limited action against the Bills.

''A lot of it depends on how the game goes and where you are,'' Eagles coach Chip Kelly said Wednesday. ''Are you down? Are you throwing a lot more? Are you up? Are you running the ball a lot more? We had planned on going into last week's game playing all four of those guys.''

Sproles logged the most snaps with 28, carried the ball seven times for 41 yards and caught two passes.

Murray had 26 snaps, 11 carries for 34 yards and two catches.

Mathews, coming back from a concussion that sidelined him for two games, had 21 snaps, carried 13 times for 38 yards and also caught two passes.

Barner was in for six snaps without touching the ball.

''We have what we think to be four really good running backs,'' Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. ''So we want to use them all. I think if you put a really good player in the game, and he's fresher as you go, then you get a little bit more out of him.''

Murray, who led the league in rushing last with the Dallas Cowboys, was thought to be the Eagles' lead back this year, with Mathews and Sproles as accessories. It's why they gave him a $40 million contract, with $21 million guaranteed.

Performance has changed those plans. Murray has averaged just 3.5 yards per carry; Mathews has averaged 5.3 yards and Sproles 4.0 yards.

''Are we going to base it on how much the player's making?'' Shurmur said when asked about Murray.

''Really, we're trying to win football games and want to put fresh running backs in the game. I think some of that is just the outside drama added to it,'' Shurmur said.


NOTES: Cornerback Byron Maxwell (ankle) sat out of practice Wednesday but is expected to play Sunday. Wide receiver Jordan Matthews (back) was limited in practice Wednesday.


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