Making Sense Of the Eagles’ Inactives

Vinny CurryThe following Eagles are inactive for tonight’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs: QB Matt Barkley, CB Roc Carmichael, CB Jordan Poyer, OT Matt Tobin, OT Dennis Kelly, DL Damion Square and tight end Emil Igwenagu.

Most noteworthy is the player whose name is not listed above: Vinny Curry.

The 2012 second-round pick didn’t dress in either of the Eagles’ first two games, but he’ll give it a go tonight. Chip Kelly and company had maintained that Curry’s standing had more to do with the opponent than anything else. Perhaps expecting a pass-happy attack from the Chiefs, they decided to activate Curry.

The other factor is that Square played poorly last week against the Chargers.

Curry will presumably rotate in with Clifton Geathers and Bennie Logan on the second-team defensive line.

Meanwhile, in the secondary, Poyer, a seventh-round pick, is inactive for the first time. Taking his place is Prater, whom the team added after the preseason. He’ll be the Eagles’ fourth corner behind Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher and Brandon Boykin. Safety Patrick Chung has also played some slot corner in three-safety looks.

For the third straight game, the Eagles go with two QBs in Michael Vick and Nick Foles. They have two backups active on the offensive line: Allen Barbre at guard/tackle and Julian Vandervelde at center.

Jeff Maehl is once again the team’s fifth wide receiver.And on the other sideline, starting cornerback Brandon Flowers is active. He had been listed as questionable with a knee injury.

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Making Sense Of the Eagles’ Inactives

Vinny CurryThe following Eagles are inactive for tonight’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs: QB Matt Barkley, CB Roc Carmichael, CB Jordan Poyer, OT Matt Tobin, OT Dennis Kelly, DL Damion Square and tight end Emil Igwenagu.

Most noteworthy is the player whose name is not listed above: Vinny Curry.

The 2012 second-round pick didn’t dress in either of the Eagles’ first two games, but he’ll give it a go tonight. Chip Kelly and company had maintained that Curry’s standing had more to do with the opponent than anything else. Perhaps expecting a pass-happy attack from the Chiefs, they decided to activate Curry.

The other factor is that Square played poorly last week against the Chargers.

Curry will presumably rotate in with Clifton Geathers and Bennie Logan on the second-team defensive line.

Meanwhile, in the secondary, Poyer, a seventh-round pick, is inactive for the first time. Taking his place is Prater, whom the team added after the preseason. He’ll be the Eagles’ fourth corner behind Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher and Brandon Boykin. Safety Patrick Chung has also played some slot corner in three-safety looks.

For the third straight game, the Eagles go with two QBs in Michael Vick and Nick Foles. They have two backups active on the offensive line: Allen Barbre at guard/tackle and Julian Vandervelde at center.

Jeff Maehl is once again the team’s fifth wide receiver.And on the other sideline, starting cornerback Brandon Flowers is active. He had been listed as questionable with a knee injury.

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Week 2: Eagles Snap Count Analysis

Here’s a look at Eagles snap counts Sunday against the Chargers.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
LeSean McCoy5085%
Bryce Brown915%

LeSean McCoy played 85 percent of the snaps, but the total was just 50 since the Eagles ran far fewer plays than in Week 1. He had 16 total touches for 167 yards.

Bryce Brown played nine snaps and had three carries for 13 yards. Chris Polk played special-teams only. He has not played an offensive snap  yet.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
Riley Cooper5695%
Brent Celek5492%
DeSean Jackson5492%
Jason Avant4881%
Zach Ertz1220%
James Casey58%
Damaris Johnson47%
Jeff Maehl35%

Riley Cooper played the most snaps among this group for the second week in a row. He had two catches for 25 yards and a touchdown.

DeSean Jackson played all but five snaps, finishing with nine catches for 193 yards on 15 targets. As we mentioned, to say he could have easily had 300 yards receiving is no stretch.

The Eagles were in ’11′ personnel with one RB, one TE and three WRs quite a bit for the second straight week. Jason Avant played 81 percent of the snaps and had four catches for 39 yards. It doesn’t appear that Damaris Johnson will have much of a role in this offense when everyone else is healthy. He played just four snaps. And Jeff Maehl got on the field for three snaps.

At tight end, Brent Celek played all but five snaps and was shut out (one target). Rookie Zach Ertz played 12 snaps, but made the most of them, catching two balls for 58 yards. James Casey only played five snaps and dropped a potential touchdown pass early from Michael Vick.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
Fletcher Cox6477%
Cedric Thornton5769%
Isaac Sopoaga2834%
Bennie Logan2733%
Clifton Geathers1417%
Damion Square1214%

Not too much to note here. Fletcher Cox played the most snaps (64), followed by Cedric Thornton (57). Isaac Sopoaga played 34 percent of the snaps. And the second team was Bennie Logan (33 percent), Clifton Geathers (17 percent) and Damion Square (14 percent). For the second straight week, Vinny Curry was inactive.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
DeMeco Ryans83100%
Mychal Kendricks83100%
Connor Barwin7995%
Trent Cole6781%
Brandon Graham1619%
Casey Matthews45%

DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks played every single snap. Still have to re-watch, but Kendricks seemed to struggle throughout.

Connor Barwin was the only defensive player to notch a sack, and Trent Cole seemed to be active.

Casey Matthews backed up Barwin at left outside linebacker and played four snaps. And Brandon Graham played 16 snaps behind Cole at right outside linebacker.

 
Overall Snaps
Snap %
Cary Williams83100%
Patrick Chung8299%
Brandon Boykin8096%
Nate Allen6376%
Earl Wolff4959%
Brandon Hughes2227%

The secondary was a mess. Cary Williams played every snap and was called for three pass interference penalties. Brandon Boykin played all but three snaps. He started off on the outside, but moved inside at times.

Brandon Hughes played 22 snaps on the outside, but suffered a hamstring injury.

Patrick Chung played all but one snap – both at safety and at nickel.

Nate Allen (76 percent) and Earl Wolff (59 percent) both saw significant action, but neither played well.

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Making Sense Of the Eagles’ Inactives

The following Eagles are inactive for Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers: QB Matt Barkley, CB Bradley Fletcher, CB Shaun Prater, OT Matt Tobin, OT Dennis Kelly, DE Vinny Curry and TE Emil Igwenagu.

The inactives are the same as last week, with the addition of Fletcher, who is out with a concussion.

The Eagles re-signed veteran cornerback Brandon Hughes during the week, and he’ll be active. They have four corners active: Cary WilliamsBrandon Boykin, Jordan Poyer and Hughes.

Williams and Boykin are expected to start on the outside. It’ll be interesting to see what they do in nickel. Here are the options:

1. Keep Boykin on the outside and play either Poyer or safety Patrick Chung in the slot. In this scenario, Earl Wolff would likely join Nate Allen at safety.

2. Move Boykin inside, and play Hughes on the outside. My guess is this is the more likely scenario.

Elsewhere, Curry is inactive for the second straight week. The Eagles’ coaching staff and front office indicated during the week that Curry sat in Week 1 because the Redskins were more of a running team. But it seems more that they don’t see him fitting in their new scheme. The Eagles have six defensive linemen active: Fletcher Cox, Isaac Sopoaga, Cedric Thornton, Bennie Logan, Damion Square and Clifton Geathers.

Once again, the Eagles go with two QBs in Michael Vick and Nick Foles. They have two backups active on the offensive line: Allen Barbre at Julian Vandervelde. Barbre filled in for a few snaps at left tackle last week for Jason Peters. If anyone but Jason Kelce goes down, Barbre figures to fill in. Vandervelde would fill in at Kelce.

The Eagles once again have all five wide receivers active: DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper, Jason Avant, Damaris Johnson and Jeff Maehl. Three tight ends will dress: Brent Celek, Zach Ertz and James Casey. And three running backs: LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown and Chris Polk.

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Vinny Curry’s Agent Open To A Trade

Vinny CurryVinny Curry grew up an Eagles fan, so in a lot of respects this is a dream job for him. But his time in Philadelphia has come with its share of frustrations. And as he embarks on his second season, it’s unclear exactly how he fits into the team’s plans — if he fits into them at all.

The Neptune, New Jersey native found himself in a familiar spot Monday night:  on the inactive list. He did not dress for the first 10 games his rookie season. Curry was hoping those days were behind him, but was relegated to the sidelines once again on Monday night while the other six defensive linemen on the roster were active and saw playing time against Washington.

There is some talk that he is simply not a fit for this scheme and is best suited as a pass rusher in a 4-3.

Is it time to move on?

His representation is open the idea.

“Vinny’s main objective is to play and play at a high level,” agent Kevin Connor told Birds 24/7. “The question becomes, can that happen in Philly or do we need to facilitate an opportunity outside of Philly if it makes sense for all parties.”

One of the tricky things when it comes to dealing Curry is finding appropriate compensation. The Eagles spent a second-round pick on the former Marshall standout in 2012. Given that he is still a relative unknown in this league, it’s difficult to envision a team offering that same value in return for Curry’s services. That’s not to say he wouldn’t draw  interest.  Any team that runs a 4-3 defense and is looking for a pass rusher could see value.

Howie Roseman will have a say in whether Curry stays or goes. The general manager suggested that the decision not to play Curry this week had more to do with the opponent the Eagles were facing than anything else.

“Vinny Curry has tremendous pass rush potential and showed that in the preseason. That’s why he is on our team,” said Roseman. “Each week we try to match up our active players versus  the skill set of the team we are playing.”

The Redskins were the top rushing team in 2012. Stopping the run is not Curry’s strength, so the explanation makes sense.

Chip Kelly, meanwhile, offered this take:

“Why was Vinny Curry inactive? Just because we were only going to have six d-linemen active for the game,” he said.

“It was just a combination of what our depth is. In that game we were going to have six d-linemen active, we weren’t going to have seven. And then we always factor in when it comes to backup guys special teams.”

Curry has been the odd man out for a good portion of his time in Philly.

He did not appear in a game until late November his rookie season — 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 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 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. He flashed at times during the preseason, showing a quick first step while applying frequent pressure to the quarterback. However, sources indicate that Curry’s game isn’t an ideal fit for the two-gap 3-4 scheme that Davis is trying to run.

That leaves Curry as more of a situational player for this team. By the sounds of it, he’ll see action when a pass-rushing specialist is needed. That certainly wasn’t the goal for either Curry or the Eagles when he was selected with the 59th overall pick in April of 2012.

Roseman gave an interesting quote about the effects of coaching and schematic changes back in May.

“…When you talk with people around the league, they tell you, ‘When you change coaches, when you change schemes, there are going to be good players who fall by the wayside,’ and that’s hard for the general manager because you know it’s a good player. You know in a different scheme he’s going to be a good player, but at the same time you know it’s not a good fit for you.”

You wonder if Curry is in that boat, or if there is still room for him on the team he grew up rooting for.

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Making Sense Of the Eagles’ Inactives

The following Eagles are inactive for tonight’s game against the Redskins: Matt Barkley, Shaun Prater, Matthew Tobin, Dennis Kelly, Vinny Curry and Emil Igwenagu.

The Eagles released Brandon Hughes this week so they only need to name six inactives instead of the usual seven.

The big name in that group is Curry. The second-year defensive lineman spent all offseason adding weight to prepare for the 3-4 scheme shift. And he was quite possibly the Eagles’ most active defensive player in the preseason.

But all along, there seemed to be something that didn’t add up. The coaches never offered up too much praise or indicated that Curry was a key part of the team’s long-term plans.

One possibility is that while Curry played well in the preseason, he wasn’t using the techniques the coaches want from the guys up front. The other possibility is that the Eagles are expecting a heavy rushing attack from the Redskins and view Curry as more of a situational pass-rusher.

The active defensive linemen are: Fletcher Cox, Isaac Sopoaga, Cedric Thornton, Clifton Geathers, Damion Square and Bennie Logan.

Barkley is inactive, meaning the team will go with just two quarterbacks (Michael Vick and Nick Foles).

Prater, the new cornerback, won’t dress. That means the Eagles have four active corners: Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Brandon Boykin and rookie Jordan Poyer. Safety Patrick Chung could play some nickel corner in a pinch.

The Eagles have five safeties active: Nate Allen, Chung, Earl Wolff, Colt Anderson and Kurt Coleman.

On the offensive line, the Eagles have two backups: center Julian Vandervelde and Allen Barbre. Barbre is capable of playing four of the team’s five positions up front.

The Eagles have five wide receivers active: DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper, Jason Avant, Damaris Johnson and Jeff Maehl.

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Ten Takeaways From Howie Roseman

Vinny CurryYesterday, we took a look at what Howie Roseman had to say about Danny Watkins. But the Eagles’ GM touched on a variety of other topics during a session with reporters at the NovaCare Complex.

Here are 10 items that stood out.

1. The Eagles only have three outside linebackers on the roster: Connor Barwin, Trent Cole and Brandon Graham. Barwin is the only true 3-4 OLB among that group. Chip Kelly and Roseman parted ways with Chris McCoy, Everette Brown and Travis Long. When asked for his thoughts on the Eagles’ depth at that spot, Roseman provided an interesting response.

“We look at a guy like Vinny Curry, and you talk about a guy who can rush the passer,” Roseman said. “If he stood up, he can set the edge. He can do some of the things that the outside linebacker does.”

Curry bulked up in the offseason and has been practicing all summer at defensive end.

“And then when you talk about a Casey Matthews possibly if you got in a bind in a game, he could play outside,” Roseman said. “When Chip talked about the versatility of the back of the roster, we didn’t want to duplicate a lot of skills. So that’s what made some of the choices at the back of the roster, maybe some guys who played well in the preseason but maybe they were duplicating the skills that some of the guys we had. Did it make sense to keep them or try to find guys that did some different things?”

The guess here is that the Eagles will be looking for outside linebacker help from other teams.

2. I mentioned Cole above. Roseman might have offered a hint about how the veteran will be used in the regular season.

“A lot of times, what you see in preseason is working on not only the things they do well, but also the weaknesses to get a sense of what guys can really do,” he said. “As you know, things change during the regular season.”

According to Pro Football Focus, Cole was on the field for 41 passing downs in the preseason, and he dropped back into coverage 39 percent of the time. Given that he didn’t exactly look comfortable doing so, perhaps Roseman is suggesting Cole will be more of a pass-rusher in the regular season. We’ll find out shortly.

3. As for the roster overall, expect the team to be active in the next few days.

“We’ll continue to look for ways to upgrade this team,” Roseman said. “So, as we sit here, it’s a constant evaluation. It’s a constant evaluation of the back of the roster. If we have opportunities to continue to add some young players that we think will help our team, if we get that opportunity, we’re gonna look at it.

“We’re prepared. We have a draft board set up. We’ve spent an inordinate amount of time on guys that we thought would be on the bubble. And so we’ve just gotta see who’s really out there.”

4. One area to keep an eye on is cornerback. The Eagles went heavy with six: Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Brandon Boykin, Curtis Marsh, Brandon Hughes and Jordan Poyer.

“You want to put your coach in position to win games here in the early part of the year,” Roseman said. “You’ve got a couple guys who are coming back from some injuries and haven’t played in a little bit. And then you talked about Poyer. And Poyer was affected by not having the offseason. You saw that he kept coming on, not only in games, but in practice. He’s instinctive, he’s tough, he’s physical, he’s got size to him. So we just felt like he was a guy we wanted to grow with and have here. Obviously, you look at the numbers there and you see six corners and there’s some uncertainty just because you’ve got to have availability at that spot.”

Marsh and Hughes both suffered hand injuries in the preseason, but Roseman said they’re “not long-term injuries at all.” He indicated that the team expects both guys back “shortly.”

5. The Eagles have nine players on the roster left from the 2010 and 2011 drafts: Curtis Marsh, Casey Matthews, Alex Henery, Julian Vandervelde, Jason Kelce, Brandon Graham, Nate Allen, Riley Cooper and Kurt Coleman.

The projected starters from that group are Kelce, possibly Allen and Cooper, who is only filling in because Jeremy Maclin went down.

Asked if those two drafts set the franchise back, Roseman said: “I think that’s probably a fair question. When you have drafts that don’t work out, you’ve gotta find those players somewhere else. Like I said when we started this, the big part taking from that is that we are forced to look and figure out the ways to do things and the way we have done things over a long period of time, and then where our team was and evolve from that. And I think that’s the positive to be taken out of it.”

6. The Eagles provided a bit of a surprise at wide receiver, cutting Russell Shepard and Greg Salas, while keeping Jeff Maehl.

“Tough decisions at the wide receiver spot,” Roseman said. “When we traded for Jeff, we knew that he was a guy who could play inside or out. He was a safety in high school when Coach recruited him. And so you knew that he would bring something to special teams as well.

“And then when you talk about the roster, I think it’s an evolving process too. How it looks today, to tell you that it’s gonna look like that in Week 10, we’re gonna be constantly on the lookout. We’re trying to build this team, and we’re trying to get players that we think can be here for a long time. We’re open to things that we think could make us better.”

Translation: Maehl might not be here in a few days. The Eagles could add a back-of-the-roster wide receiver from another team.

7. While there was plenty of talk about the 2010 and 2011 drafts, Roseman did suggest that he thinks the Eagles found some good core players in 2012, specifically on the defensive side of the ball.

“When you talk about Fletcher Cox and Mychal Kendricks, I don’t see any reason why those guys shouldn’t be big-time players in this league,” he said. “Between what’s in their body, physically, you’re talking about guys who have the traits to do it. And then they work really hard. And then there’s nothing I’ve seen out here or on the field during games that says they shouldn’t take this step from first- or second-year guys to really be core members of our defense for a long time.”

8. The Eagles have three undrafted free agents from this class on the roster: offensive lineman Matt Tobin, defensive lineman Damion Square and linebacker Jake Knott.

Roseman said it was evident as soon as the pads went on that Square was a violent technician who had a good chance to stick.

He also praised Tobin’s versatility.

“He’s probably a four-position backup if you put him on gameday active,” Roseman said. “And I’m not so sure that he couldn’t play center too.”

He added that Knott would have definitely been drafted if not for the shoulder problems.

“You go through the draft-day decisions and Jake was a guy that we were really considering taking in all three of those seventh-round picks,” Roseman said. “We feel very fortunate to get him. His character and football intelligence, he’s a good player.”

9. The Eagles went with Emil Igwenagu over Clay Harbor for the final tight end spot. The reason?

“We were looking for different skill sets in the back of the roster,” Roseman said. “So some of the conversations we had about the fourth outside linebacker applies at this moment to the tight end spot. And we didn’t feel like there was another guy on the roster who was as good as a point of attack blocker. He’s a physical guy. We also felt like those other three guys were good receiving threats.”

10. Roseman made a good point about why it’s tough to trade near the cut-down deadline.

“The problem is it’s very rare to find someone to offer you a player and to not think that player’s gonna get cut,” he said. “When you’re in March and April, you know that there’s a long time so people are gonna hang on to them and maybe they’re telling the truth: ‘Hey, I’ll hang on to him if I don’t get what I’m looking for.’ But this time of the year, everyone’s basically calling each other’s bluff.”

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Roster Analysis: Evaluating the Eagles’ Defense

Jordan PoyerIf you missed the offense, click here.

Now for the position-by-position look at what the Eagles’ defense looks like after initial cuts to 53.

Defensive line (7): Fletcher Cox, Isaac Sopoaga, Cedric Thornton, Bennie Logan, Clifton Geathers, Damion Square, Vinny Curry.

Chip Kelly has indicated that the plan will likely be to keep six defensive linemen active on gamedays and rotate them in. Cox (RDE), Sopoaga (NT) and Thornton (LDE) figure to be the starters. If Logan performs like he did in the preseason, he’ll be pushing for major snaps from the get-go.

Curry might have been the Eagles’ best defensive player in the preseason, but no one in the organization has indicated that he will have a major role in his second season. This is just a situation where we have to wait and see what happens in Week 1. That will tell us what the coaches really think of Curry.

Either Square or Geathers will likely be a gameday inactive. Square, an undrafted free agent, beat out seventh-round pick David King. Both Square and Geathers took snaps at defensive end and nose tackle in the spring.

Outside linebacker (3): Connor Barwin, Trent Cole, Brandon Graham.

Assuming he’s healthy and well-conditioned, Barwin’s not going to get many snaps off this season. He’s the only true 3-4 outside linebacker on the roster.

If the preseason was any indication, Cole will start at ROLB, and Graham will rotate in. The Eagles got rid of every other outside linebacker on the roster, including Chris McCoy, whom many (present company included) thought had a good shot to make it.

Howie Roseman was asked about depth here and said Curry could play outside linebacker in a pinch. He mentioned Casey Matthews’ name too. Obviously, those are not ideal options, so don’t be surprised if the Eagles add a player here in the coming days.

Inside linebacker (5): DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, Jake Knott, Emmanuel Acho, Casey Matthews.

Ryans and Kendricks are the unquestioned starters and will rarely come off the field.

It will be interesting to see who’s active on gamedays from this group. Acho might be the best backup option should Ryans or Kendricks go down. Matthews didn’t seem to show much progress defensively in the preseason, but he had 14 special-teams tackles a year ago, second on the team.

And Knott is a bit of a wild card. The coaching staff and organization seem to love the undrafted free agent out of Iowa State. But they’ll have to determine if he’s ready to dress on gamedays from the get-go.

Cornerback (6): Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Brandon Boykin, Curtis Marsh, Brandon Hughes, Jordan Poyer.

I guess the Eagles were going for strength in numbers. The secondary is a giant question mark, but the team currently has 11 defensive backs on the roster.

Williams and Fletcher figure to start, with Boykin serving as the nickel. Marsh and Hughes both have hand injuries, but Roseman indicated neither is expected to be out for a considerable amount of time.

Poyer missed much of the spring because of NCAA rules, but came on late in camp, and the Eagles didn’t want to give up on the seventh-round pick.

Don’t be surprised if the team shakes things up here if other cornerback options become available.

Safeties (5): Patrick Chung, Nate Allen, Earl Wolff, Colt Anderson, Kurt Coleman.

Chung has one starting spot locked down. The other will be occupied by either Allen or Wolff.

Anderson is an ace special-teamer and will be active on gamedays. Chip Kelly raved about Coleman after the final preseason game.

Once again, not an ideal set of options, but the Eagles will try to piece something together at safety with these five guys.

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Eagles-Jaguars Game Review: The Defense

Below is a position-by-position review of what we saw from the Eagles’ defense Saturday night against Jacksonville after having reviewed the game.

Note: Snap counts are courtesy of Pro Football Focus.

DEFENSIVE LINE

* After the first game, we, along with others, expressed some concern about Fletcher Cox. That seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it? Cox was really good against the Jaguars. He pressured Chad Henne on a second-down throw in the first and was very active against the run, bringing Maurice Jones-Drew down after a pair of 2-yard runs. Maybe most importantly, he made a play that reminded everyone of his elite athleticism.

In the third quarter, Henne scrambled and tried to get to the right sideline for a first down on 3rd-and-5, but Cox wasn’t having it.

cox1a

cox1b

cox1c

Granted, Henne is not Robert Griffin III, but those are the kinds of plays we saw during Cox’s outstanding rookie season.

* Really not seeing a lot from Isaac Sopoaga. I know that’s a “dirty work” position and Sopoaga’s a veteran, but he doesn’t seem to be causing much disruption on the interior. We’ll get a better look with the All-22 during the regular season, but I still think Bennie Logan could take over the starting nose tackle spot early in the season.

* Not a good showing by undrafted rookie Damion Square. He lined up at nose tackle, but somehow ended up on the other side of Logan (RDE) on the 63-yard Jordan Todman run. That helped open up the huge cutback lane.

* Clifton Geathers was on the receiving end of a cut block on that play, but overall, he was pretty active. Good penetration to disrupt Denard Robinson’s 1-yard run in the first. And Geathers pressured Henne in the second, forcing him to scramble for a 1-yard run. He’s on the roster bubble. I think he’s got a good shot of sticking around though.

* Cedric Thornton did well as a pass-rusher. He got decent pressure on Henne on third down in the first, then beat the right guard badly to sack Henne on first down of the next series.

* What else does Vinny Curry have to do to earn more playing time? He’s been the Eagles’ most active defender this preseason. Curry’s ability to get off the ball quicker than everyone else on the field has been fun to watch. Great penetration, bursting through the backfield on Todman’s third-quarter run that lost a yard. Later in the series, Curry rushed from LDE, got the better of the right guard and hit Henne as he was releasing the ball in the red zone. Great first step on the very next play, hitting Henne again. He then had a sack and also forced a fumble in the third. It’s going to be interesting to see how many snaps Curry gets once the season starts.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

* On passing downs, Trent Cole rushed the QB 11 times and dropped into coverage seven times, per PFF. He came from RDE in the second and hit Henne on a third-down pass. Cole was OK against the run, missing a tackle on an 8-yard Jones-Drew run, but stopping Todman after a 1-yard gain. Didn’t notice him much in coverage. Only thing left to do now is wait and see how he fits in a couple weeks.

* This was Connor Barwin’s best performance of the preseason, as his versatility was on full display. The Birds’ starting left outside linebacker lined up over the slot receiver, dropped back into coverage and made a tremendous interception in the second. Later, he stood up in the A-Gap, ran a twist with Thornton, attacked the center and came up with a sack. Barwin had a nice rush and got his hands on Henne on the first-quarter touchdown pass. He’s had a nice summer.

* Brandon Graham had a couple nice moments. He set the edge and forced Robinson inside on a 1-yard run in the first. And he came off the edge in the red zone in the third, forcing Henne to step up into a Curry sack. Still don’t know how he’s going to be used in the regular season.

* I fully expect the Eagles to add an outside linebacker after other teams make cuts. Chris McCoy has a chance to stick. Everette Brown has had a quiet summer, but flashed a bit in the fourth quarter vs. Jacksonville. Don’t think he’s going to make it though.

INSIDE LINEBACKERS

* Mychal Kendricks was very active for the second straight game. He dropped Jones-Drew for no gain on the first play and later had good coverage on the running back on a third-down incompletion. Kendricks had a sack in the second, which was mostly due to miscommunication by the Jaguars’ offense. Henne was looking to throw, but his receivers were run-blocking. On the next play, Kendricks got in the passing lane, leaped and batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage.

The second-year player was not perfect. He was taken to the ground by the fullback on Jones-Drew’s 7-yard run on 3rd-and-1. But overall, a fine performance.

* DeMeco Ryans has had a quiet preseason, but that was the case last year, and he was great when the games started counting. Ryans was crushed by the fullback on Todman’s 14-yard run on 4th-and-1. But again, don’t see any need to panic.

* The Eagles let Jamar Chaney go yesterday. Undrafted free agent Jake Knott has a good chance to stick. If the Eagles keep four inside linebackers, the final spot will come down to Casey Matthews, Emmanuel Acho or a player who’s currently not on the roster.

CORNERBACKS

* Cary Williams played pretty well. He gave up an early 20-yard completion, but later broke up a couple passes, including one on third down in the second. Per PFF, Williams allowed one completion on four targets.

* Bradley Fletcher’s numbers were not as good. The Jaguars took advantage of the huge cushion he was giving receivers with a couple screens and a comeback route. Fletcher gave up a back-shoulder throw to Justin Blackmon for 21 yards. It was tough to tell whether he or Patrick Chung was at fault on the first touchdown. And Fletcher struggled to get off the receiver’s block on Todman’s 14-yard run to his side in the second. He’ll probably still start the season at left corner, but if Fletcher struggles, Brandon Boykin could replace him.

* Boykin started the game as the inside nickel corner and then moved outside. He was called for pass interference in the red zone and allowed a 13-yard completion on 3rd-and-14. Boykin later broke up a third-down pass. Likely to start the season as the nickel corner.

* Brandon Hughes and Curtis Marsh have fractured hands. Eddie Whitley suffered a knee injury and was waived. The Eagles are thin at corner with only Jordan Poyer and Trevard Lindley behind the first three guys. Poyer nearly came away with a couple interceptions, but had a holding penalty.

SAFETIES

* Always a tough position to evaluate off of TV tape. We’ll get an idea of what the coaches thought of the film when we see who’s practicing with the first team this week. On Saturday, Chung manned one starting position, while Nate Allen and Earl Wolff rotated at the other one.

* On the 63-yard run, Chung got blocked, allowing the big cutback. And Wolff admitted to taking a horrible angle. With Kenny Phillips out of the picture, the Eagles are likely to go with Chung, Allen, Wolff and Colt Anderson on the roster. Kurt Coleman and David Sims are fighting for spots.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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Curry: ‘I’m Just Trying To Get On the Field’

0V3J8914Vinny Curry was asked what he has learned about himself since being drafted by the Eagles last April.

“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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