Eagles coach Chip Kelly was asked quite a few questions about his use of the running backs in Sunday's shocking victory over New England, when Kelly took the lectern for his day-after press conference Monday.
The upshot: It still depends a lot on matchups with opponents and which backs are healthy, but DeMarco Murray no longer gets the bulk of the carries just because he's the guy with the five-year, $40 milion contract.
"We have to do what's best for the Eagles. We're not trying to win a rushing title," Kelly said. Murray got just eight carries Sunday, gaining 24 yards. Previously little-used Kenjon Barner carried nine times for 39 yards and Darren Sproles was the focal point of the Eagles' offense, running 15 times for 66 yards and catching four passes for another 34 yards.
Kelly suggested that Murray would have gotten the ball more if it hadn't been "a strange game offensively," in which the Eagles rarely had the ball in the second half.
But "nothing's set in stone" when it comes to reserves' opportunity to earn playing time, Kelly said, mentioning Barner along with wideout Jonathan Krause, who took Miles Austin's spot Sunday, and safety Ed Reynolds, who played a career-high 79 snaps against the Pats. "You continue to show us you can help us and be productive, the bottom line is for us to win the football game," Kelly said. "I think it helps when you have that youth aspect that's really pushing."
Perhaps just as noteworthy was that Kelly acknowledged he consciously emphasized the run over the pass on a key Eagles drive in the second half, not because he didn't think Sam Bradford could complete passes, Kelly said, but to run some clock and keep the Eagles' defense from getting tired. This would seem to represent an evolution in Kelly's thinking.
Kelly also was asked why he shows players film of things they've done well.
"I think positive reinforcement is a productive way to be successful. I don't believe in negative reinforcement; I don't think you get a lot out of that. I think you coach people up, you don't coach 'em down."