When Vinny Curry began his college career at Marshall, he played defensive end in a 3-4.
His position coach at the time? Jerry Azzinaro. Yes, that’s the same Jerry Azzinaro who is now coaching the Eagles’ defensive line. He spent one year at Marshall before joining Chip Kelly at Oregon and eventually in Philadelphia.
While many (yours truly included) expected Curry to make the switch to outside linebacker this offseason, he’ll instead be under Azzinaro’s direction – for now, at least.
“Mango, peanut butter and banana,” explained the second-year defensive end.
Post-practice smoothies are just one of many changes these days at the NovaCare Complex. In previous years, players would be tossed Gatorades as they walked off the field. Now, lined up along several tables sat custom-made smoothies with each player’s name written on the plastic cups.
But looking ahead to 2013, that probably won’t end up being the case.
Since the start of free agency, the Eagles have added nine new players, but only one true pass-rusher – Connor Barwin.
Much of the offseason focus has been on rebuilding the secondary, but Howie Roseman, Chip Kelly and company still have work to do in bolstering the front seven – specifically, the defensive line.
Before we take a look at what areas still need to be addressed, let’s look at what the Eagles have on their current roster.
Curry has been focusing on footwork and drops in the event that the new coaching staff opts for a version of the 3-4 and moves him to outside linebacker. Like Brandon Graham, Curry played some linebacker in high school before switching to defensive end. In his first couple seasons at Marshall the Thundering Herd ran a 3-4 and he was asked to drop into coverage some, he said.
There is some familiarity with playing in space. And this isn’t exactly a crash course, as Curry has has been readying himself for a potential position change for a while now.
As for the details, there’s not a whole lot we know right now. We know Chip Kelly prefers a 3-4. We know defensive coordinator Billy Davis has a background in multiple schemes, including the 4-3 under. Having spoken to Davis and some of the other assistants, I got the impression that pre-snap disguise is going to be a big part of whatever the Eagles do.
As we look ahead to free agency (March 12) and the draft (April 25), now seems like a good time to take stock of the Eagles’ defensive linemen to see how they might fit going forward.
Using some All-22 shots, we dive into scheme possibilities for new Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis. Which pieces on the current roster fit the plan going forward?
The D-Line failed to sack Robert Griffin III, although the Eagles certainly pressured him at times. Alfred Morris had 91 yards rushing, but he needed 22 carries (4.1 YPC).
Once again, the defense got no help from the other two phases. Washington’s five scoring drives started at its own 28, its own 41, its own 47, midfield and the Eagles’ 25. This is nothing new. Opponents have dominated the Birds in terms of field position all year long.
Focusing back on the pass-rush, here’s a look at opportunities (from Pro Football Focus), sacks, hurries (as tracked by the coaching staff) and pressure percentage (frequency with which each player notched a sack or hurry).
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