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August 04, 2016

Done with playing time and trade questions, Vinny Curry looking for breakout year

Eagles NFL

There are training camp standouts every year and at every camp, and for the Eagles in 2016, defensive end Vinny Curry has impressed so far at Doug Pederson’s more physical practices.

(On a related note, the #PhillyRank committee is pleased with what it sees from our No. 23 athlete.)

When asked about his personal goals for the 2016 season, Curry won’t offer a certain number of sacks. He just wants to be one of the names that football fans bring up when talking about the Eagles defense, similar to defensive ends of the past such as Jevon Kearse or Trent Cole.

“When you walk away this season and you talk about the Eagles defense, I just want people to say, ‘Vinny Curry is something else,’” Curry said.

“You can talk about so many teams in the NFL and when you talk about their defense, it’s always three to six players that come right to mind. So I just want to be part of this for the Philadelphia Eagles.”

He’s in line to receive that chance. Curry only got in on 35 percent of the Eagles snaps in 2015, managing 3.5 sacks after breaking out with nine the year before. Despite the lack of playing time, he was re-signed to a five-year, $47.5 million deal ($23 million guaranteed) in the offseason after the regime change.

If Chip Kelly stuck around, there is a pretty good chance that Curry wouldn’t be here.

Many holdovers from last season have been gushing about Pederson and the new vibe around the NovaCare Complex, but Curry has a tangible reason to be excited about the change: It’s not fair to describe him as a square peg in a round hole in Billy Davis’ two-gap scheme (because he still was effective), but Curry is back at home in Jim Schwartz’ four-man front.

With a new coaching staff, Curry doesn’t believe there will be questions about his run-stopping ability this year.

“That’s something that the coaching staff last year [said],” Curry said. “You guys kept asking them, ‘Is Vinny going to play?’ They threw that at you. Did the coaching staff say that here yet?”

A New Jersey native, Curry is also happy that there will be no more questions about a potential trade this season. The 27-year-old admitted the addition of Schwartz is a major reason that he decided to come back.

Curry will play much more than 35 percent of the snaps this season, but with capable rushers like Brandon Graham and Connor Barwin still in the fold, Schwartz will look to heavily rotate his defensive line.

“We want to try to get as much production as we can out of guys, and I've said this before, it's a little bit like those [baseball] relievers coming out of the bullpen that are heating it up at 98 and 99 [miles per hour],” Schwartz said. “It's hard to do that for seven innings, but you can do it for a couple innings, and that's what we expect from those guys.”

Off the field this offseason, Curry donated $200,000 to Marshall, his alma mater. Part of that money will go toward endowing a scholarship in his late mother’s name, Linda “Cissy” Jackson. Curry said that he frequently goes back to Marshall, in part to motivate some of the younger players.

“I just felt like for me to give another kid, another student athlete an opportunity, the same opportunity I had in my mom’s honor, is a great thing,” Curry said.

Curry will essentially have to transition from a reliever to starting pitcher this season, but he said that he hasn’t thought too much about the increased role. How that plays out, he says, will start to become apparent once the games begin.

“Once the game comes, the rest is going to take care of itself,” Curry said. “The sky is the limit with that stuff.”


Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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