Three Takeaways: Curry, Kiko And Right Guard
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.”
2) Inside linebackers coach Rick Minter offered hints as to how the defense might try to maximize the abilities of their three standout ILBs.
“DeMeco [Ryans] is more of your typical middle linebacker: a leader, big bodied-type. And the other two are longer, leaner, faster in space,” he said. “It’s becoming more and more of a spread league, a pass on first down league, so you have to have some matchup availability.”
As for the differences between Kiko Alonso and Mychal Kendricks, Minter offered: “Kiko is a little bit longer, taller. I think he might match up better on tight ends, some of these premiere tight ends we have in the league that have great wing spans and height. I think that’s going to be a strength of his. I think both of those guys are comparable. I think they’re both explosive athletes, I think they’re both pressure guys, I think they use their hands well, I think they’re both pass-coverage awareness guys, good solid run-stuffing players, high energy, high-motor guys. Bring a lot of energy to the table and to the room.”
There is a competition going on right now, Minter says, for who will take the lead and make the calls when Ryans is on the sideline and it’s Kendricks and Alonso in the game.
“We don’t need both guys talking all the time. We just need one sound guy talking, and that’s an ongoing process right now.”
3) Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland said the upcoming exhibition games will go a long way in determining who ends up at right guard, though the players are already beginning to form opinions.
“We have absolutely exhausted the process to make sure we have the right person,” he said. “It’s been good for the other players to see it on the film, too. They’re like, ‘OK.’
“It’s like the players are almost the ones that…you can tell. When each guy goes each day, the production level and how they’re performing at the position, you kind of know at the end of the day who’s done what.”
Andrew Gardner has had the most reps thus far, and was working with the ones again during Saturday’s practice. Matt Tobin hasn’t gotten first-team reps in over a week from what we’ve seen. Stoutland said that has something to do with having a firm understanding what Tobin is capable of, and also wanting to get him reps at other spots including left tackle and guard.
John Moffitt has rotated in at first-team right guard as well. Stoutland says “you can tell he’s been off for a couple years,” noting that Moffitt is still working to get his timing and footwork back where it needs to be, but he seems happy with his progress overall.