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Vinny Curry has played just six games for the Eagles in two seasons. (USA Today Images)
If the NFL is a numbers game, then all the wrong digits keep coming up for Vinny Curry. The Eagles’ defensive lineman made the 53-man roster, but he still has trouble getting his name listed among the 46 active players on game day.
Curry was once again inactive when the team opened the season against the Washington Redskins. It has become a regular occurrence for him.
“I definitely thought I was going to be active,” Curry admitted as he walked off the field at the NovaCare Complex on Wednesday.
When asked why Curry didn’t play on Monday night, defensive coordinator Billy Davis said a combination of factors went into the decision, from stopping the run to special teams to “facing the offense we were facing.”
“Vinny,” Davis explained, “was the odd man out this week.”
This week. And a lot of other weeks that came before it.
The Eagles took the 6-foot-3, 266-pound lineman in the second round of the 2012 draft. Since then, the Marshall product has spent more time watching the Birds from the sideline than helping them on the field. In a little over a year, three different defensive coordinators (Juan Castillo, Todd Bowles and Davis) have scribbled Curry’s name onto the inactive list. If you’re starting to wonder about Curry’s career in Philadelphia, you’re not alone.
“Of course it’s frustrating,” Curry allowed. “You’re a competitor. But it is what it is. We got a great coaching staff. They know what they’re doing. You just have to trust and believe.”
Curry has been inactive for 11 of his 17 NFL games. He didn’t make his first professional appearance until late November last season when he had five tackles against the Carolina Panthers. It was his best single-outing effort to date. By far.
In six games, Curry has totaled nine tackles (seven solo). He has yet to register a sack. For a guy who’s regarded as a pass rusher, that’s not good.
The fact that the Eagles transitioned from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 scheme might not help Curry’s prospects of getting activated in the future. As Chip Kelly noted this week, the Eagles went with six defensive linemen against the Redskins. A year ago, the Eagles often carried seven linemen for each game.
Also working against Curry: his lack of special teams abilities. Kelly and members of his staff have repeatedly said that players in backup roles need to be part of that unit in order to have a better chance of playing. And both Kelly and Davis mentioned special teams as a reason why Curry wasn’t active against the Redskins.
“Special teams has a game plan that they have to stop,” Davis said. “So all of us, collectively, pick and choose who will help us effectively execute that game plan of the day. And special teams, offense and defense all factor in. You’re only allowed so many up. That decision is really an organizational decision.”
If Curry can’t contribute on special teams, how difficult will that make it for him to make the active game-day roster moving forward?
“We tell all the players from the beginning, special teams is really what gets you active if you’re in a backup role,” Davis continued. “I think all players know that and understand it. That’s why it’s such a vital part. Those snaps are just as important as any offensive or defensive snap. It’s a play in the game that could affect the outcome. We take it very seriously.”