How the return of Vinny Curry impacts the Eagles defense

The Eagles made a safe and serene move today in bringing home DE Vinny Curry. It will be Curry’s eighth year in midnight green and his addition will bring a lot to the Eagles defense. Here’s everything you need to know.

Pass-rushing prowess

The 32-year-old played in all 16 games last season, notching five sacks and 27 tackles. His five sacks were his most since his nine sack season in 2014. Four of those five sacks came in the team’s last five games, with two coming against the Giants in their first matchup.

While his late-season explosion was impressive, it doesn’t tell the whole story. If anyone knows what Curry brings to the table, it’s Jim Schwartz and the Eagles. Curry has long-been a pass-rusher that can bake the cake but can’t quite put the icing on. He generates a ton of pressure and penetrates, but is unable to get home before his teammates clean up the wreckage.

This was reflected by the fact he ranked fifth in pressure rate (16.%) of 99 NFL DE’s, tying with T.J Watt of the Steelers. His 77.9 PFF grade speaks volumes and the analytics giant actually named him the Eagles’ most improved player of 2019.

The Eagles were able to snag a bargain last year when they signed Curry to a one-year $2.5M contract. They may have struck gold again with what looks to be a similar deal.

A new role for Vinny Curry

Curry played in 38.5% of snaps last year and performed well, but it was a decrease from the 55% played during his last season in Philadelphia. Josh Sweat played in 34.5% of snaps last year, rallying to four sacks and showing a huge leap forward.

With Curry now 32-years-old, it’s hard to imagine Curry taking precedence over the 23-year-old out of FSU who still has two years left on his deal. Curry will more than likely take the EDGE4 role, essentially switching places with Sweat providing that the younger of the two can continue his upward trend.

This does add some competition and a new positional battle for EDGE3, but the winner, in theory, has already been decided.

Familiarity

All in all, Curry has amassed 27 sacks in seven seasons with the Eagles and will slot straight back into the locker room of the team he grew up watching.

In an offseason where there is no OTA’s and preseason has been abandoned, this takes significant strain off the shoulders of Genard Avery, Shareef Miller, and Joe Ostman.

There’s a chance that both Avery and DT Malik Jackson will also pick up significant reps at DE this season, but Curry should rank above both names in the depth chart.

The battles beneath

The depth chart should now look a little something like this:

EDGE1 Brandon Graham
EDGE2 Derek Barnett
EDGE3 Josh Sweat
EDGE4 Vinny Curry
EDGE5 Genard Avery

With a free-for-all happening below the surface with names like the recently drafted Casey Toohill juking it out with last-year’s fourth-round pick Shareef Miller and scout-team star Joe Ostman.

The move really does add a sense of stability to the depth chart and it’s one Eagles fans should be excited about.

Leave a Reply