“Patience,” he said, drawing laughs. “I used to not have any patience at all. Going through last year to now I really learned a lot about myself, just patience and how much of a team player I am. It’s more than yourself.”
The second-round pick has not had an ideal start to his NFL career. A victim of politics, he spent the majority of his rookie season as a spectator. He did not appear in a game until November 26 — one day before Jason Babin was released from the team. A disgruntled Jim Washburn was axed the next week, and Curry finished out the string playing for a new defensive line coach (Tommy Brasher) on a bad Eagles team during the final, ugly days of the Andy Reid reign.
Out went the old coaching staff and in came Chip Kelly, who hired Billy Davis to overhaul the defense. The 4-3 pass rusher would have to find a way to adapt and survive in a 3-4. So he bulked up about 15 pounds to about 280 this offseason to try and make it as a 3-4 end. While he has had a strong showing this preseason, the starting jobs currently belong to Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton.
“All that starting stuff — for me personally, I’m just trying to get on the field. That’s it,” said Curry. “The rest is going to take care of itself.”
Curry has proven effective when he has gotten a shot. He was on the field for 25 snaps against the Patriots — 16 of which were pass-rushing opportunities — and registered a sack and a pair of quarterback hits, per Pro Football Focus, showing off a lightning-quick first step in the process. Against the Panthers he was on the field for 17 plays and only rushed the passer 11 times, and again came up with a pair of QB hits.
The 25-year-old did not see much action early on versus Carolina. Davis explained why when he met with reporters this week.
“Some of it is situational,” he said. “Some of it is what we’re being presented with. How much three‑wide receiver packages are we being presented with? How many bigger tight end packages are we being presented with?”
In other words, Curry has a better chance of seeing the field when the offense is showing pass. That makes sense. The Marshall product is still getting accustomed to some of the two-gap principles associated with Davis’ base defense. He is being deployed predominantly as an inside pass-rusher for now.
“I think everybody knows when Vinny got drafted here he’s a very, very good pass rusher,” said Kelly following the Patriots game. “So it’s a matter of now seeing him do the other things. We know Vinny can pass rush…But you have to be able to, for all those guys, what are they like in the run game? What are they like in all situations?”
Saturday presents Curry with an opportunity to show the coaching staff that he can be counted on no matter the situation.
Is he in the mix to start?
“Absolutely. Absolutely,” said Davis. “Again, nothing has been determined yet as far as starters, and we’re continuing to evaluate all of them. And Vinny is absolutely in the mix.”
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