Vinny Curry makes the most of key opportunity

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Vinny Curry makes the most of key opportunity

August 10, 2013, 5:30 pm
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Vinny Curry, shown right bringing down Tim Tebow, was credited with half a sack, two hurries and two tackles in 25 plays vs. the Patriots.

This is what Vinny Curry has been waiting for since he got here.

An opportunity to play. An opportunity to show he belongs. An opportunity to prove the Eagles didn’t blow another second-round draft pick.

It was only one small step, one preseason game. But Curry showed up in a big way Friday night.

“I just wanted to get out there and take advantage of my opportunity and just show everybody that I’ve been paying attention to detail,” Curry said.

“I just try to take things in stride and take things as they go. There are certain things that I can control. When it’s my time to make a play, I try to do it with excellence at all times.”

Curry, one of the Eagles’ two second-round picks last year, got only 88 total snaps as a rookie and is trying to reinvent himself as a 3-4 defensive end.

It’s probably not what he’s best suited to, but he’s bigger and stronger now than a year ago, and in the preseason opener against the Patriots, he was probably the Eagles’ best defensive player.

“We always knew that Vinny [Curry] could get after the quarterback,” coach Chip Kelly said. “I was pleased with him.”

Curry, the Neptune, N.J. native who the Eagles made the 59th pick overall last year out of Marshall, is kind of in the same position as a year ago.

Fighting for playing time. Fighting to become a starter.

But after being buried on the bench most of last year while the Eagles went through two defensive coordinators and two defensive line coaches, it at least looks like Curry has caught the attention of his coaches this summer.

"Vinny is one of the guys we have to keep evaluating, see where he fits best for us,” defensive coordinator Billy Davis said. “He's playing well. He played well [Friday]. He's been practicing well. He's a good player. There's a reason he was a second round pick."

Curry was credited with half a sack, two hurries and two tackles during his 25-play stint Friday night in the Eagles’ 31-22 loss to the Patriots at the Linc in the preseason opener for both teams.

More important than the stats was just the general impression you got watching him that he was better than the people trying to block him.

“I was using a stutter step, swim, a couple different things just to try to get to the quarterback and apply pressure,” Curry said. “Got a couple hits on him, but the main thing, [doing] my fundamentals and just two-gapping and [trying] to just have all my technique and not let the technique go out the window.”

For now, Curry is still running with the second defense, behind starting ends Cedric Thornton and Fletcher Cox.

Obviously, Cox isn’t going anywhere, but if Curry keeps it up, it’s conceivable that he could unseat Thornton or at the very least elbow his way into the rotation.

Curry said he’s not worried about where he fits in right now. Just focusing on going out and playing hard.

“The only thing I can tell you guys is that I’m going to try my best,” he said. “I just want to be on the field with these guys, and I just want to prove to myself and to everybody that I’m a worthy player. I’ve just got to continue to work.”

Curry didn’t even get to dress for a game last year until Week 11, four days after the team released Jason Babin.

He showed some flashes late in the season, but the Eagles were so bad and going through so much chaos and turmoil, it was tough to notice.

Different guy now. You can just tell.

“Way more confident,” Curry said. “Way more confident in myself.

“Last year … I don’t know. This year just feels good. I feel better about myself. Because this offseason, in my head, there hasn’t been a player who’s been out there working as hard as me.

“I’ve bought in right from the beginning just working hard, so I’m glad I got to see it start to pay off tonight.”

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