Vinny Curry: ‘Turn the Tape on This Year and You Know What's Up'

Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry has two main goals. First, is to help the Eagles win. 

Second? 

"My second goal is, when you turn the tape on," Curry said, "you're going to see 75 on there, flashing."

He's accomplishing both of those goals in 2017. 

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The Eagles have an incredibly talented defensive line, but Curry isn't the player grabbing headlines. Brandon Graham leads the team in sacks and has been its most disruptive player. Fletcher Cox is on his way back to the Pro Bowl. Tim Jernigan came in a trade and already got paid. Chris Long has brought veteran leadership and has made news for his charity work off the field. And Derek Barnett is the exciting first-round pick. 

Curry? It can be easy to forget about him. 

But Curry is quietly putting together a great season. 

"He's had a tremendous year for us," defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. "He's played with power. He's played the run extremely well. He's done his job, and I think that's the greatest compliment I can give a player. He does his job. He's there when we need him. ... He's just been steady and consistent the whole year. Plays with toughness. He brings a physical edge to us, and he's done his job when he's called upon, and like I said, I think that's the greatest compliment you can give a player."

Through 11 games, Curry has three sacks, which isn't great, but it's also more than he had in 16 games last season. And his production shouldn't be judged by sacks alone. That would be unfair. Curry also has eight quarterback hits, 16 quarterback hurries and is tied for the team lead with seven tackles for loss. 

"He's done a lot," Graham said. "He comes in focused every day, ready to go. I think he's gotten better in Year 2 (in the defense), as far as what they ask him to do. And now he's just making plays. Now, it's all about getting better each week." 

Curry has also proven to be a huge run-stuffer for an Eagles' defense that is the best run-stuffing team in the league. 

Some think Curry, 29, has gotten better against the run, but he doesn't think so. 

"You never got to see me play the run game," Curry said. "That's an illusion that people were led to believe. People never saw me play the run game. I came in on third downs. Right now, I'm playing first and second downs now and you can see it. I'm just trying to do my job to the best of my ability and not let the guys down on my part."

In 2016, Curry was the first defensive end off the bench after Graham and Connor Barwin. The Eagles actually tried to give Curry the chance to win a starting gig, but Graham got in there and played so well they couldn't take him off the field. 

During last season, Curry battled through injuries, including an MCL sprain, and played just 43 percent of the Eagles' defensive snaps. 

Curry's disappointing 2016 season came sandwiched between his signing a $46.25 million extension and the Eagles' bringing in Long and Barnett this offseason. Curry didn't pay it any mind though. 

"You've been around me a long time," Curry said. "Every year there's another story out about Vinny and something else. You know how it goes. I don't really get into none of that. I just come in and do my job. If last year, people were judging me on that, then shame on them. You feel me? Turn the tape on this year and you know what's up."

Curry, who was a second-round pick in 2012, had never started an NFL game before this season. He has started all 11 games this season as the Eagles have jumped out to a 10-1 record. Perhaps more importantly, Curry is playing a career-high 54 percent of the defense's snaps. 

In a way, Curry's role has flipped this season. He's playing more first and second downs, where he used to come in as a third-down specialist. Curry said it's just important for his unit to check their egos, something he said isn't difficult at all, especially when the team is 10-1. 

These days, Curry gets his playing time cut because the Eagles need to get Barnett into the game. The first-round pick already has 4½ sacks this season. It's a lot easier for Curry to accept the rotation because of how well Barnett is playing. 

"I ain't mad for five minutes," Curry said. "That man can play." 

But so can Curry. And he's proving it again this season. 

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