Will Curry Finally Get His Chance?

Philadelphia Eagles secondary coach Todd Bowles.Vinny Curry sat at his locker Thursday afternoon, bumping some Michael Jackson from his phone as he got ready for practice.

Minutes earlier, defensive coordinator Todd Bowles was asked what the Eagles’ second-round pick needs to show in practice to get on the field.

“I think he’s doing everything he can do,” Bowles said. “He’s working hard. He’s hungry. He’s doing a lot of the right things. But you’ve got six other guys that are hungry also and doing the right things. By gameplan and how we see it, and how you can bring him up and bring him down, it’s just a tough deal. You’ve got about seven tough players over there.”

Is Bowles happy with how the defensive ends who are currently in the rotation are performing?

“I don’t think anybody’s playing bad,” Bowles said, not exactly offering up a ringing endorsement. “I think it’s going to be tough. I think he’s closed the gap considerably. We just have to play it by ear.”

Of the 31 players who were taken in the second round of April’s draft, only two have not played this season – Curry and 49ers running LaMichael James . The Eagles clearly liked Curry enough to take him with the 59th overall pick, but he’s yet to dress on gameday. I asked him what he thought of Bowles’ comments.

“Maybe Mike can answer that,” Curry said with a laugh, looking in teammate Mike Patterson’s direction. “I don’t know. I just try to compete and work hard. That’s all. That’s great to hear coming from coach. I’m just going out there competing and doing the best I can do to help the team be ready and prepared for certain situations, so I can’t really answer that.”

The truth is the lack of production from the Eagles’ defensive ends is one of the reasons the team currently sits at 3-6 after nine games. Jason Babin had no sacks, one hurry and no tackles against the Cowboys last week. In the last three games, he has one sack, four tackles and four hurries. Trent Cole has not played to his usual standards. Brandon Graham has been solid. And Darryl Tapp has just one hurry (no sacks) in his last three games. Phillip Hunt, meanwhile, was deactivated along with Curry last week.

With the team having lost five in a row, you’d think now would be as good a time as any to give Curry a shot.

“He’s hungry. He’s very hungry, and I like that,” Cole said. “He reminds me of myself. I told him, ‘Man I was in the same position you are, I was hungry, and just keep that hunger because when the opportunity arises, you better step up.’ …I came in, I had a bunch of Pro Bowlers in front of me, great players in front of me. I learned from them, and they always helped me out. I’ve always been there to help the rookies out since I’ve been here. I’ve never turned down anybody who has asked for help.”

The Eagles go with nine defensive linemen on gameday. They could either sit Derek Landri, Cedric Thornton or Mike Patterson and go with five defensive ends instead of five defensive tackles. Or they could play Curry instead of Tapp.

At some point, they will turn the page on this season and look to the future to see what they have with Curry.

“The word I got from Howie [Roseman] was it’s basically a numbers game,” Curry said. “As far as being talent-wise, I don’t think that was it at all. It’s coming, man, I’m just remaining patient.”

Is he tired of answering the same questions every week?

“Not at all,” Curry said with a laugh. “I’d rather get asked questions than get forgotten about.”

Tim McManus contributed to this article.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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