There has been nothing routine about DeMarco Murray's practice routine during training camp. The Eagles' high-priced running back has missed time this summer because of hydration problems and illness, and even when he's on the field, his involvement is scattered by the day.
He could be taking a majority of the first-team snaps or could be watching from the back. He could take part in individual drills or could work with trainers during that period.
Murray, 27, said Wednesday that he is neither injured nor behind. When asked why he worked with the training staff during one portion of practice, he answered that it was to focus on different parts of his body and improve the strength in other areas. He said he is taking the work "day by day."
"I think there's a difference between getting the reps you need and getting too many reps," said Murray, who is entering his fifth year. "There are some situations where you know we feel that it's a scheme that I'm in there and there are certain situations where I'm comfortable in some things."
Murray indicated that there are some parts of the offense he must work on more than others. He places a value on practice, but he also said he must be smart about how he goes about it.
"Not trying to kill each other out here," he said.
Murray's workload in August will matter little come October, but his adjustment to the offense has been a big focus this summer. After all, Murray led the NFL in rushing last season, came from a division rival, replaced the Eagles' all-time leading rusher, and received a five-year, $42 million contract to do it. Those factors create interest, and when he's not participating, that interest piques.
Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said the Eagles have seen enough of Murray this summer to have a sense of what he can do and how he will fit.
"He was out there, and the last couple days he's been able to execute our basic runs and really kind of display a running style that fits what we want to do," Shurmur said.
Shurmur said the Eagles have not held Murray back. He expects to hear questions often this season about how the Eagles are using Murray, but he emphasized that each running back has a necessary workload. Some of the work could come during individual drills, Shurmur said, so it's not the "explosive running" that might capture attention.
"You always want to get as many reps as you can," Murray said. "There are some reps I've gotten a lot of in OTAs and minicamps and in training camp, and there are some other reps where I haven't gotten the chance to get some. I think [running backs coach Duce Staley] does a good job at putting me in different situations . . . I need to work on a little bit better."
Most Eagles fans will get their first glimpse of Murray during preseason games. The Eagles have not said how much they will use him.
Murray played only two preseason games last season and carried the ball just 14 times before he rushed for 1,845 yards in the regular season. So he doesn't need a significant workload in August. The Eagles gave LeSean McCoy only 11 carries last preseason. Shurmur said practice could provide a sufficient look at Murray.
"We certainly can get a lot done in practice," Shurmur said. "I think no matter how much or how limited, I think it's important that we all play in the preseason games if we're able to, and I think you'll see that happen."
What matters is how Murray performs during the season. He likely won't near the 392 carries he had last year - the most for any running back since 2006 - but Murray believes he can still lead the league in rushing.
"I do," he said. "This is a great offense."
Shurmur said the Eagles would keep his workload in mind.
"We're aware of what last year was all about, but we kind of train and we monitor our training and we kind of know what we expect from all of our players," Shurmur said. "We feel good about where he's at."
It's good the coaches do, because Murray hasn't been on the field as much this summer as the other running backs. They must hope that come autumn, that's not the case.
"I think [Chip Kelly] watches enough film and he sees me out here to know what I'm working on," Murray said. "And there's some things I need to work on constantly and some things I'm obviously more comfortable at doing. I think the whole coaching staff has a good grasp of how to use certain players and know what to throw at them."