Vinny Curry Getting Some Work At Linebacker

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Vinny Curry nearly came up with the pick.

During one of the rare occasions that he was asked to drop earlier this week, he popped out on the tight end, turned, and saw that the ball was already on him. He wasn’t quite able to haul it in, but it was still enough to get his defensive teammates excited.

“Can’t cover like Connor [Barwin],” Curry joked, “but it got the job done.”

Chip Kelly revealed before Wednesday’s practice that Curry has been getting some looks at outside linebacker. This is a recent development according to Barwin, as Curry just started mixing in with the outside linebackers over the last few days. And it does not have the feel of a full-on position switch. Curry is still primarily a defensive end in this 3-4 scheme. Weighing in at around 280 pounds, he’s not going to be asked to play in space with any regularity.

“He’s just stepping in a little bit here and there. But he’s done a good job,” said Barwin.

“These coaches aren’t stupid. They’re not going to put him out there to cover running backs and wide receivers. They’re going to put him in there to rush the quarterback…I wouldn’t overthink it. They’re going to get him going north. There’s a couple in there where he’ll drop just to keep people honest, but he won’t be doing what I’m doing in kind of what I’m saying.”

This is a way to get Curry on the field more while trying to play to his skill set. The four-year vet out of Marshall racked up nine sacks, four hurries and four forced fumbled last season despite playing 33 percent of the snaps. Because he is not a traditional two-gapping defensive lineman, Curry is more of a specialist in this scheme. Plus, the starting three of Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan and Cedric Thornton aren’t too shabby. Same could be said for Barwin and Brandon Graham on the outside, but they could use an infusion of depth behind them.  So why not give Curry some snaps on the outside?

“One thing we all know we’ve got is I can rush the passer and I’ve got speed, so we’re just trying to find a way for me to help the team out the best way I can,” said Curry.

“I’ve been getting a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of studying, man. Just watching guys that are out there like Connor and Brandon Graham, and still try to master my craft at the defensive end position.”

This experiment is still in its infancy stages, but so far, so good for the former edge rusher.

“Vinny’s doing a hell of a job,” said Chip Kelly. “He’s playing a little bit of outside, a little bit of inside, and he’s expanded his role in terms of where we can deploy him.”