What must Eagles improve on vs. Denver?
Vinny Curry had constant pressure on Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith in Week 3, Curry's first game of the year. (USA Today Images)
Vinny Curry tried something new during the Eagles’ four-day break. Something he hasn’t had to do in a while.
He let his body heal.
Curry, last year’s second-round pick, was active Thursday night for the first time this year and made the most of his first regular-season snaps since December, with his first NFL sack, a tackle for loss, a quarterback hurry, a tackle in the run game and a pressure that resulted in a holding call on Chiefs guard Jon Asamoah.
All in the span of just 12 snaps.
Where’s this guy been all year?
“I felt like I did some things well, and there were some other things that I wish I had done better,” Curry said. “I did what the coaches asked. Overall, I think I played really well. I know what I have to work on, and I’m just going to continue to work as hard as I can to get better.”
Curry was active over undrafted rookie Damion Square, who had just one tackle and nothing else on his stat line in 25 snaps in the Eagles’ first two games.
The Eagles lost Thursday night to the Chiefs to fall to 1-2, but Curry was one of the bright spots.
“It definitely felt great to get out there and run around and try to make some plays,” Curry said. “The other guys were really excited for me, and that got me even more excited.”
Following three games in 11 days, head coach Chip Kelly gave the players Friday through Monday off.
The team reconvenes at the NovaCare Complex Tuesday and flies to Denver on Saturday to face the Broncos on Sunday at Mile High Stadium.
Kelly acknowledged Curry’s production against the Chiefs but came up short of saying he’ll stay in the rotation.
“I think Vinny did a really nice job rushing the passer,” Kelly said. “And that's what Vinny has done. He's continued to develop. I was happy to get him out there. I thought Vinny did some nice things.”
Curry was inactive the first 10 games last year but played well later in the year, after Todd Bowles replaced defensive coordinator Juan Castillo and gave him a chance to get on the field. He got 88 snaps on defense over the last six weeks, or about 15 per game.
And he was productive in the preseason, with 1½ sacks and consistent pressure.
So why did it take him three games to get on the field?
“We have great coaches, and they had a plan for me, and that was to start to ease me in a little bit and see how it works,” Curry said. “They didn’t want to just throw me out there.”
Common sense says Curry did enough to earn more playing time. But common sense also said he should have been on the field the first 2½ months of last year and the first two weeks of this year.
Curry said one thing he’s learned over the past year is how to handle the ups and downs of being in the NFL. Active one week, inactive the next.
“Last year, I was a rookie, and it was all new to me,” Curry said. “This year, I’m a second-year player, and you know how to handle certain things better.
“You learn that you can only control what you can control. The coaches are doing what’s best for the team, and all I can do is work hard, continue to compete and prepare each week.”
Of the 63 players taken in the first two rounds in last year’s draft, only three have played fewer games than Curry: Chiefs receiver A.J. Jenkins (six), Broncos backup quarterback Brock Osweiler (five) and 49ers running back LaMichael James (four), who played for Chip Kelly at Oregon.
Curry said he’s not taking anything for granted. Just because he was active for the Chiefs doesn’t mean he’ll be active for the Broncos.
“I haven’t heard anything yet,” Curry said. “Just keep working and see what happens. That’s all I can do.”