To say Vinny Curry‘s rookie season was a rocky one would be putting it lightly.
One of the Philadelphia Eagles‘ two second-round draft choices in 2012, Curry was essentially buried on the bench, deactivated for the first 10 weeks of the season by and large because of former defensive line coach Jim Washburn‘s favoritism shown towards players such as Jason Babin and Trent Cole.
In the time since, Washburn was fired midway through the season and Jason Babin was released before signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season.
When the Eagles finally turned Curry loose against the Carolina Panthers on November 26, he showed flashes of being the menacing pass rusher he built his reputation on at the University of Marshall. Despite being lauded by teammates as one of the hardest workers and best practice players last season, Curry failed to register a sack in the final six games of the season.
“We’ve got a fresh new start” Curry said during the team’s offseason conditioning program in April, after explaining that he bulked his playing weight up to 278 pounds, from 267 a year ago. “And it’s not like I put on any bad weight and went crazy. It just so happens to be working for me. A lot of people will tell you, ‘Is he gonna lose any quickness?’ No, that’s not the case.”
After only notching nine tackles his rookie season, the 25-year old Neptune, NJ product has plenty to prove in 2013 and likely will have to do so while switching positions from 4-3 defensive tackle to 3-4 defensive end as the Birds undergo a defensive facelift.
Curry figures to jostle for playing time with fellow second-year lineman Fletcher Cox and defensive end Cedric Thornton as the Eagles look to find the ideal personnel mix, depending on what front they are running at any given time. In four seasons at Marshall, Curry notched 26 career sacks and also added 49 tackles behind scrimmage and 10 forced fumbles.
Despite not being able to come close that type of production or playing time as a rookie, Curry isn’t entering his sophomore season with any sense of discouragement.
“Not really, man. If you just come out there and practice, you’re hyped for what they’re doing,” he said. “I’ll tell you one thing, everybody [on the coaching staff] is using their players to their strengths. They’re using Trent [Cole] to his strength, me to my strength. Everything is coming together slowly but surely.”
Matt Lombardo is also an on-air personality on 97.5 FM The Fanatic in Philadelphia. Join the conversation and follow Matt on Twitter.
* All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise noted.