Eagles experimenting with Vinny Curry at LB

After registering nine sacks in 2014, Vinny Curry is a man in need of a role on defense. The Philadelphia Eagles are doing all they can to find him one.

Coming off an outstanding nine-sack campaign in 2014 despite not being a starter, the Philadelphia Eagles are trying to find any way they can get Vinny Curry more playing time while maximizing his results.

In just 32 percent of his team’s defensive snaps, Curry ranked as only the second-best 3-4 defensive end in the league in terms of pass rushing. His sack total equaled that of the New York Jets’ Sheldon Richardson, who is widely considered one of the top 3-4 ends in all of football.

However, it doesn’t benefit Curry, that he’s slated behind starters Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton. Both players are a better fit in the Eagles’ two-gap 3-4 system where Curry doesn’t fit the prototypical player they’re looking for at defensive end. Thornton is a much stronger run defender than Curry and thus, why he gets the starting nod.

But with a player as productive as Curry can be in pass-rushing situations, the Eagles recognize how important it is to get him on the field. So, they’re looking for answers to make that happen, and they may have find a solution in the form of moving Curry out to linebacker. He’s been reportedly getting looks at outside linebacker in practice.

"He's playing a little bit of outside, a little bit of inside," Kelly told reporters during his Wednesday press conference. "I think he's expanded his role in terms of where we can deploy him, but I see that happening, yeah."

Unfortunately, Curry’s in a disadvantage at outside linebacker as well because his coverage abilities are lacking. Still, the Eagles have him learning both the JACK and PREDATOR roles while they try to find some place that suits him in their lineup.

"They put me all over the field. Just to help my best attribute,” Curry said after practice Wednesday. “I’ve been getting a lot of work. It’s also a lot of studying. Just watching guys that are out there, like Connor [Barwin] and Brandon Graham. And still try to master my craft at the defensive end position."

The decision to try Curry at outside linebacker now is interesting, as the team had originally shifted him to 3-4 defensive end when Chip Kelly was hired while other 4-3 defensive ends like Brandon Graham were moved conventionally to outside linebacker. There’s no better time than now, however, with Curry proving he can be a dominant pass rusher even just in short spurts on the field.

Curry is not the only player the Eagles are experimenting with. According to the third-year pass rusher, they’re moving all their players around to see what other options they have on the roster.

"It’s just to move all of us around," Curry said. "It’s just not me moving to different positions. It’s all the guys moving to different positions. It’s not like I’m singled out, saying 'Vinny Curry go there, Vinny go there.’ Got the whole crew moving around, trying to get their feet wet in different spots."

Lou Musto is the publisher of WarNest.com. You can follow him on Twitter @LouisMusto.


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