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Murray Could Make Two-Point Tries Tempting

Posted May 20, 2015

When Chip Kelly was named the Eagles' head coach in January 2013, it was widely perceived that Kelly would be aggressive when it came to attempting two-point conversions. In his four seasons as the head coach at Oregon, Kelly's Ducks were successful on 19 out of 25 two-point tries, a 76 percent success rate.

The Eagles attempted a league-high eight two-point conversions in Kelly's first season. They were successful on one out of three tries on the ground and two out of five through the air.

Last season, the Eagles didn't go for a single two-point conversion. Will the NFL's new PAT rules change that?

For one-point tries, the ball will be placed at the 15-yard line (instead of the 2) resulting in a 33-yard attempt by the kicker. Pro Bowl kicker Cody Parkey was perfect from 33 yards and in last year.

Over the past five years, teams have scored on 48 percent of two-point conversion tries, but the Eagles' new-look backfield provides some tempting options for Kelly.

DeMarco Murray was not only the league's leading rusher overall, but he gained the most yards inside the 20-yard line as well with 148. He was also tied for the league lead with 12 red zone rushing touchdowns. In fact, a whopping 21.4 percent of his red zone carries ended with six points. Murray isn't a one-year wonder in this realm. He had 135 yards rushing inside the red zone and scored nine rushing touchdowns in 2013.

"I call DeMarco Murray a defense beater," said Hall of Fame wide receiver and NFL Network analyst Michael Irvin, an unabashed Murray supporter. "He ain't running around nobody. He's running through you and now you've got all of these defensive backs on the football field trying to tackle a defense beater, not a guy that beats defenses? There's a huge difference in that."

In addition, Murray had the most carries in the league on either third- or fourth-and-1 with 24. He averaged 4.04 yards per carry in those situations.

Yes, Murray will be running behind a new offensive line this year, but it’s one that graded out as the best run blocking unit in the league in 2014, per Pro Football Focus. The Eagles were ranked higher than the Cowboys, who were second, in terms of run blocking.

Kelly also has Darren Sproles at his disposal. Sproles scored five rushing touchdowns in the red zone last season. He scored on 55.6 percent of his red zone rushing attempts in his first year with the Eagles.

Ryan Mathews, who like Murray signed as a free agent this offseason, was a perfect five out of five in third- or fourth-and-1 attempts last season. In his Pro Bowl season of 2011, Mathews scored five times from inside the 20-yard line.

Now that one of the most basic, automatic scoring plays in the league has been changed, how will teams adjust? All eyes will be on Kelly and the Eagles.

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