Eagles

Numbers or not, Vinny Curry an absolute beast

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Numbers or not, Vinny Curry an absolute beast

The normally affable Vinny Curry hasn't done many interviews this year.

"When you guys come in, I walk out," Curry said with a laugh. "I just wanted to keep my head down this year and work hard and do my job."

Curry has done his job quite well, even though the sack numbers might not show it.

Since about the midpoint of the season, Curry has been an absolute beast. His playing time has increased, his production has increased, and in the postseason wins over the Falcons and Vikings, he's played some of the best football of his life.

"Trying to make an impact on every game," Curry said. "Playoff games, like Dawk says, your level has to go up. You got to tap into something you ain’t never tapped into.

"One more left. I’m excited to see what’s on the next level."

Curry is playing more than at any point in his six-year career. His playing time has gone from eight percent as a rookie in Andy Reid's final year to 26, 32 and 35 percent in three years under Chip Kelly and Bill Davis to 43 and 56 percent the last two years under Doug Pederson and Jim Schwartz.

But over the last seven games, that figure has increased to 63 percent. And in those seven games, Curry has a remarkable 26 quarterback hurries.

The Eagles' defensive line is playing lights out right now, and Curry has been in the middle of all of it.

“I’m a starter," Curry said. "That’s the difference everybody’s seeing. I’m a starter. Last year I just wasn’t healthy, I wasn’t myself. Was trying to fight through things, and I understood that.

"This year, just worked hard all offseason, came in and just do your job. And look where we're at."

Where they're at is one win from a parade.

Curry, who had never started an NFL game before this year, started all 16 this year for the NFL's fourth-ranked defense. It was a huge step for the former second-round pick out of Marshall.

More than anything, it showed that Curry finally had a coaching staff that believed in him.

"To be a starter on a defense like this means so much to me," he said. "I worked my ass off this offseason, and there's nothing I want more than one more win and see these fans to go buck wild."

Curry is one of only six players remaining on the active roster who played under Reid (injured Jason Peters would be the seventh).

It's been an up-and-down career for Curry, who had 9.0 sacks in 2014 but just 9.0 in three years since. But in this case, the sack numbers don't tell the true story.

Curry has been a difference maker this year, especially down the stretch.

"This moment right now right here … what’s today’s date?" Curry said. "The 25th? The 25th, bro! It's Jan. 25 and we’re still playing football. That means everything. That means everything.

"Just goes to show you how special this is. Doug has been coaching his ass off. What we have here is so special. I've never seen chemistry like this before. Everybody hangs with each other on and off the field. It’s crazy. To see the closeness, it’s ridiculous (see story). From the youngest guy on the team to the oldest guy on the team."

Curry grew up an avid Eagles fan in Central Jersey, so he knows exactly what all of this means to Eagles fans.

And just imagine how much it means to him.

"This year Doug made a thing … 'Are you committed or are you half-way into it?'" Curry said. "You’ve got to be committed or you’re not going to be here. Check your ego at the door.

"We have a defensive line rotation, and that’s what it is. Just make the plays count when you’re in there and have fun. You’ve got to be committed. It’s not a one-man sport. It’s all about the team.

“It feels great. It’s forever. My No. 1 thing was work my ass off this offseason and just be accountable. The rest will take care of itself.”

Eagles Mailbag: Trading Nick Foles; will Carson Wentz be ready?

Eagles Mailbag: Trading Nick Foles; will Carson Wentz be ready?

Training camp starts next week!

After a shorter-than-usual offseason, the Eagles will try to become the first team to repeat as Super Bowl champs in over a decade. 

We answered half of your questions yesterday (see story). The rest today: 

To me, this has always been the most likely scenario if Nick Foles were to ever get traded for a few reasons. The first is that by training camp, the Eagles will have a much better idea of whether or not Carson Wentz is ready to play. They can decide to either keep the insurance policy or trade it away. And you’re right, desperation will raise Foles’ price. 

I remember asking Howie Roseman about this exact possibility back in March. 

“I’d say that’s a possibility of anyone on our team,” Roseman said. “We’re going to do what’s in the best interest of the Eagles. I don’t want to make this about just Nick, but anything that can make us better at any time in the year, we have to look at.”

I think it would have to be a first-rounder. The Eagles already didn’t trade Foles for an early second-rounder this year and if Sam Bradford was worth a first-rounder, the Super Bowl MVP damn-well better be. Now, it’s rare to have a Teddy Bridgewater-type situation arise, but if it does, the Eagles will be waiting by their phones.  

(And side note: I don’t think Foles’ restructured contract changes anything.) 

My gut is that he’s ready for Week 1, but I don’t know. On one hand, it’s a really serious injury. On the other, I was incredibly impressed by how much he was able to do in the spring and how well he did it. 

The one thing I know is this: It won’t be a decision. Either Wentz is cleared and he plays or he isn’t cleared and he doesn’t. There can’t be any thought to resting him if he’s cleared to play. These games are too important and they’re going to need him in every one. 

The Rams improved their roster and should be one of the favorites to win the NFC. The Rams already had a quarterback and some key pieces around him and then they won the offseason. 

The brought in Ndamukong Suh, Brandin Cooks, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. Now, putting a bunch of great players together isn’t enough — remember the Dream Team — but it’s a good start. And the Rams certainly added a lot of talent. 

This is a fair question after Nigel Bradham’s suspension, but the good news for the Eagles is that Bradham’s suspension is just one game. The Eagles should have had more depth but Paul Worrilow went down for the season in the spring on the same day they cut Mychal Kendricks. That leaves the Eagles with a depth problem. 

I think they’ll try to get a better sense of what depth they have during the first week or two of training camp. Let’s see what they have in Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nate Gerry, Corey Nelson, Joe Walker and LaRoy Reynolds. But I’d imagine the Eagles at least have a couple veteran names in mind. Remember, they did add Dannell Ellerbe late last season and I wouldn’t be surprised if they still have a short list of guys who would make sense. 

Hot dogs. Please don’t ask me if they’re a sandwich. 

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Eagles Mailbag: Jay Ajayi's numbers; is Donnel Pumphrey a goner?

Eagles Mailbag: Jay Ajayi's numbers; is Donnel Pumphrey a goner?

It’s hard to believe but we’re less than two weeks away from the start of training camp. Doesn’t it seem like the Eagles won the Super Bowl, like, last week? 

Anyway, the entire team will report to the NovaCare Complex on July 25 and the first practice of the summer is the next day on July 26. The first preseason game is Aug. 9 against the Steelers. 

The season opener is Sept. 6 and it’ll be here before you know it. 

Let’s get to your questions: 

If Ajayi puts up 1,200 and eight touchdowns, the Eagles would be thrilled. The last Eagle to do that was LeSean McCoy in 2013. In fact, there have only been seven seasons in Eagles history where they’ve had a running back put up those numbers. Shady in 2013 and 2011, Ricky Watters in 1996 and 1995 and Wilbert Montgomery in 1981, 1979 and 1978. So it’s hard to do. Think about this … as good as the Eagles’ offense was in 2017, they had just nine rushing touchdowns as a team

So I don’t see Ajayi putting up 1,200 and eight, but I’m down with a 1,000-yard season. I think that’s possible. There’s still going to be a rotation in 2018, but without LeGarrette Blount taking carries, I think Ajayi will have enough opportunity. Remember, Blount led the team with 766 yards last year but lost his chance at a 1,000-yard season when Ajayi was traded to the Birds in the middle of the year.

I think with another year under his belt and without Blount taking carries now that he’s in Detroit, Ajayi will get over 1,000 in 2018. 

I’m not ready to completely write Pumphrey off, but I also haven’t seen anything that lets me know he can play in the NFL. There’s no sugarcoating it … Pumphrey was terrible last summer and if he’s that bad again this year, the Eagles might have to just give up on him. But if he shows some promise, things get trickier. Then they might have to find a roster spot for him. 

Either way, it’s hard for me to envision him really seeing time on the field this season. Is he really going to improve enough to take Ajayi, Darren Sproles or Corey Clement off the field? I just don’t see it. 

No, during a handful of spring practices, Sidney Jones hasn’t done enough to take a starting corner job from Jalen Mills or Ronald Darby. And unless one of those two really struggles, I think the Eagles will stick with them. But I expect Jones to prove himself plenty this season and to play a decent amount. I’m a complete believer in his ability and his recovery from injury. Before that Achilles injury, he could have been the first cornerback taken in the draft; he was that good. And even if he needs to shake off rust, that talent is going to show itself. He might not be a starter this year, but he’s the future of the secondary. 

I don’t remember receivers running free in the NFC Championship Game. The Vikings scored seven points in that one. As for the Super Bowl, yeah, that wasn’t great. The Patriots put up 613 yards and 500 of them came through the air. It was just the 16th game in NFL history where a team has put up 500 passing yards in a regular season or playoff game. So not great. 

But that was against the greatest quarterback in NFL history and the Eagles still won the game. I understand why you might rewatch that game and be concerned (actually it’s impressive you can watch that game and be concerned. They won the freaking Super Bowl), but that was an anomaly. They gave up 195 yards passing to the Falcons and 263 to the Vikings who trailed for most of the game. 

The Eagles bring back Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod and essentially add a first-round pick in Jones. I think they’ll be good. 

See: Snowball + Hell. 

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