Eagles Wake-Up Call: The Pass Rush

Vinny Curry. (USA Today Sports)

Vinny Curry. (USA Today Sports)

Bill Davis just wanted people to relax. Through the first four games of the season, his defense recorded just one sack each week. Criticism of the Eagles’ pass rush picked up, and those questions reached him in his press conference after the Washington game.

“There is more pressure than there are sacks,” he said a few weeks ago. “So I don’t think it’s a pressure problem. The sack numbers aren’t where you like them. But we’ve got to get the pressure on the quarterback and get him down and affect the throws. That has to increase. But we actually aren’t horrible right there.”

In the two games after that, the Eagles sacked Drew Brees and Eli Manning a combined eight times. Against Carolina, the front seven brought Cam Newton down just once, but they disrupted several passes. Read more »

All-22: Inside the Defensive Line’s Dominance

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The Eagles’ season through three weeks has been a fascinating series of twists and turns. Before the opener in Atlanta, many considered the rushing attack to be a potential juggernaut. After Week 3, however, they rank third-to-last in yards per carry.

The secondary, meanwhile, was considered a potential weakness in the offseason. But after the win against New York, the Eagles’ defense ranks in the top-10 in interceptions, opponent passer rating and yards per throw allowed. Read more »

On Curry, State Of the Outside Linebackers

NFL: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

Vinny Curry has been training at outside linebacker full-time for all of two weeks now, so it should probably come as no surprise that his debut at the position Monday night was far from flawless.

“He was a little up‑and‑down there,” said Chip Kelly. “A couple times, he lost containment: once on the quarterback when we had a naked back our way.  But I thought the transition for him, never really having played there and just got his feet wet in the preseason, we felt he did a good job.  But we have got to get dialed in a little bit some on responsibilities.”

Curry played 21 snaps (or 27 percent on the time) against the Falcons. He was deployed mostly on run downs, he said, to minimize the chances that he would have to drop into coverage.

The four-year vet did line up at OLB here and there during the offseason training program, but that seemed to be more about Billy Davis searching for creative ways to use Curry as a situational pass-rusher. Now he’s smack in the middle of a crash course on the position, trying to grasp the different run fits and various nuances while attempting to play at full speed. Read more »

Curry, Jones Work To Solve OLB ‘Question Mark’

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

After several minutes of ambiguity and non-committal responses, Chip Kelly spoke plainly about one position: outside linebacker. Before yesterday’s practice, he said that the Eagles’ “master plan” is “to make sure we have more depth.”

However, he added shortly thereafter that they have yet to reach that point at outside linebacker.

“We had a great rotation last year,” Kelly said. “But we’re still continuing to try to develop that out there. So that is a question mark for us right now.” Read more »

Eagles Notes: Marcus Smith Smith Out 2-3 Weeks

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Marcus Smith told reporters that he will be out for two-to-three weeks after suffering a hamstring injury during Thursday’s practice.

“It’s not as bad as I thought it was,” he said. “Three weeks [out] is probably the most.”

There’s a chance, then, that Smith will miss the remainder of the preseason, but he’ll try to get ready for the finale against the Jets and is confident that he’ll be ready for the regular-season opener in Atlanta.

“I don’t think it sets me back at all,” he said. “I just think it’s something unfortunate that happened. I’m going to just rest and get the proper recovery protocol and just do what I gotta do to get back.”

Smith suffered a hamstring injury that forced him to leave practice early and receive an MRI.

“He really was taking some steps and coming on, but now he has had a setback,” added Billy Davis. That’s all it is, a setback. We don’t know how long the setback is, but we’ll know once we get some more information.”

Read more »

Three Takeaways: Curry, Kiko And Right Guard

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The Eagles got in a swift practice Saturday in preparation for their exhibition opener against the Colts. Afterwards, the media had a chance to sit down with the Eagles assistant coaches for an hour. We’ll be pulling from that session quite a bit in the days ahead, but here are a few things that stood out:

1) Vinny Curry continues to get reps at outside linebacker. Chip Kelly revealed in June that the four-year vet was getting some looks on the outside. That experiment continues. And with Travis Long lost for the season, it seems that the odds of him actually being deployed there in a game have gone up.

“Vinny’s done a great job. Vinny has a lot of plusses to him,” said outside linebackers coach Bill McGovern. “He’s obviously great at going at the quarterback. All those guys are really valuable in that sense…We’ve had him some at outside linebacker, we’ve had him some at d-line. The more they can do, the more valuable they become.”

Added Jerry Azzinaro: “We kind of rotate people all through that thing, and I think Vinny has demonstrated…that he has the ability to rush the quarterback on pass downs, and we’re just trying to give him opportunities at different spots to rush the quarterback so you don’t know where he is.” Read more »

Photos: Eagles Training Camp, 8/13

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