It gets worse: Murray leaves practice with hamstring

DeMARCO MURRAY left Eagles practice yesterday with what a source close to the situation said was a mild hamstring strain. It's unclear whether the injury will sideline him for Sunday's encounter with the New York Jets.

Teammates, including fellow running backs Darren Sproles and Kenjon Barner, said they were unaware of Murray being injured or leaving practice. Barner presumably would be active against the Jets if Murray were unable to play.

"I'm not sure what happened to DeMarco," said another running back, Ryan Mathews. "I'm sure he'll be back (today)."

Actually, he probably won't.

Poll

At this point in the season, whom would you rather have as the Eagles running back?

Murray's injury adds another degree or two of difficulty to the 0-2 Eagles' bid to avoid the franchise's first 0-3 start since 1999, as they visit the 2-0 Jets.

"He's a leader on this team, obviously. He's probably the biggest leader on this team," tight end Zach Ertz said, when asked about Murray, held so far to 11 yards on 21 carries by horrendous blocking. "A lot of guys look to him for that leadership role. I don't know any more than you guys do, so I'm not going to comment on (the injury)."

Also sidelined with a mild hamstring injury is inside linebacker Mychal Kendricks. Inside linebacker Kiko Alonso is waiting for swelling to subside before getting a second opinion on the partial tear of his left ACL, which was repaired last year, causing him to miss the 2014 season.

Alonso, 25, can probably try to play with the injury, but the torn part of the repair won't heal, and it's unclear whether the rest of it will hold together. If Alonso were to play and suffer a complete tear, he would run the risk of suffering much more complex damage to a knee that currently has plenty of cartilage.

Sean Lee, the Dallas linebacker who was the central figure in the Eagles' loss Sunday, played at least a few seasons with a partial tear, then missed the 2014 season when the ACL tore completely.

Mixed signals

Josh Huff's contention Tuesday that when lined up near the Dallas sideline, he heard Cowboys calling out the Eagles' plays, raised quite a stir.

It was clear from the context that Huff was questioning whether the Eagles are too predictable, and not alleging that Dallas had stolen or figured out the Eagles' sign signal system.

But Eagles coach Chip Kelly, when asked about the matter yesterday, said he'd asked Huff about his words, and Huff "didn't say that to us."

Kelly also said the Eagles change formations, "and things like that" to avoid opponents knowing what they're going to do.

"When you're not successful, I think guys are grasping at excuses, to be honest with you," Kelly said. "We still need to block and tackle."

Kelly also said he asked Huff about the Cowboys picking up signals, and Huff said he didn't think they had - which, of course, was not what Huff had alleged to reporters anyway.

Afterward, informed of what Kelly had said, Huff said, "If he told you that, then that's what it is."

Huff, who noted both Tuesday and yesterday that predictability was a problem Oregon successfully worked around from time to time when he played for Kelly there, did seem to regret leaving the impression that it was a big reason for the loss Sunday.

"Nobody can stop this offense but us. The Cowboys played better than us. Hats off to them. We went back and watched film, and we know what we did wrong. That's what we've been doing all week, is fixing that and getting ready for the Jets," he said.

Birdseed

To avoid gridlock related to Pope Francis' weekend visit to Philadelphia, the Eagles will practice at Monmouth tomorrow and Saturday. Wide receiver Miles Austin is a Monmouth alum. "The legend is going back home," Chip Kelly said . . . Defensive ends Taylor Hart (shoulder) and Cedric Thornton (hand) did not practice, raising the odds that Brandon Bair will see significant snaps Sunday. "Everybody on the d-line can play," Bair said. "That's the great situation that our d-line is in - we've got depth, we've got guys who've played. Whatever happens will happen. Hopefully, our guys can get healthy and be on the field."


On Twitter: @LesBowen

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