The worst thing about Chip Kelly running a 2-gap 3-4 scheme the past 3 years was that it meant Vinny Curry barely saw the field. In a passing league, the fact that you can have such a dominant pass rusher on the sideline for over 50% of the snaps just seems ridiculous to me.
Luckily, we didn’t trade Curry during Kelly’s tenure and he signed a long term extension before Free Agency began which I was so happy about. Curry is probably the Eagles best pass rusher and I’m incredibly excited about watching him next year in Schwartz’ scheme.
Just because the Eagles played a 3-4 the last few years, that doesn’t make Curry’s film worthless. In obvious passing downs, the Eagles frequently used a 4-3 defense last year and Curry would either line up as the defensive end or the defensive tackle with Connor Barwin playing the defensive end position.
I think Curry will be used a lot next year as the defensive tackle in obvious passing situations so that Schwartz can get Graham, Barwin, Curry and Cox on the field at once. For this film room piece, I broke down Curry as a defensive end and a defensive tackle when the Eagles played a 4-3 seeing as he’ll be playing these positions this year.
I’ll post a few clips from games I watched and then summarize everything I saw at the end like I always do. Obviously I can’t post clips of every play, so I normally post an example of something that I see routinely.
Let’s get to the film!
I’m going to start with clips that show Curry as the defensive end in more of a 4-3 look as this is where he will spend a lot of his playing time this year. The Eagles will use a ‘wide-9’ look obviously but that won’t be an every down thing. The first thing that stands out when watching Curry rush the quarterback is just his pure strength. He frequently wins with power like in the clip above. He keeps his legs driving and surprises the offensive tackle by just straight up bull rushing him and catching him off guard. You can see him fake the outside rush and then cut inside quickly. The offensive tackle tries to get a hand on him but Curry powers through his attempt and gets to the quarterback. It also helps when it takes 3 Lions players to stop Fletcher Cox who flat out abuses the center here.
Curry doesn’t get to the quarterback here but he shows great speed and athleticism. He gets off the line of scrimmage extremely quickly and easily beats the tackle with pure speed but the guard manages to prevent him from getting to Cam. How much value you put into a quick first step depends on your preference and how you evaluate pass rushers. Personally, I always look for a guy with a quick first step. It’s not enough to make you a great pass rusher but it is seriously helpful as shown here.
Okay, so leaving Vinny Curry one on one against a tight end is never ever going to work. Still, it’s a good clip to show because it once again shows his lightning quick first step and his ability to bend the edge. This is not a knock on Graham, but if you pause this clip half a second after the snap, Curry is already getting up field and Graham has barely moved yet. It’s not even deliberate but I swear Fletcher Cox makes an unbelievable play in so many of these clips. It’s basically a Curry/Cox film room piece, just look at Cox here. Graham gets through too, poor Tannehill.
Curry slightly overruns this play but I love how he uses his hands here. Using your hands well is absolutely critical if you are going to be an elite pass rusher. Although it’s very difficult as a pass rusher, trying to keep one arm free can be very helpful as shown here and this is a great swim move by Curry. When you’re a defensive lineman and the offensive lineman ends up on the ground, you know you’ve won that battle.
Curry can’t get to the quarterback here but it’s another good outside rush and he almost does enough to get there. Just like in the previous clips, Curry is able to stop the tackle from getting a strong punch by staying low and hiding his chest. Curry then uses his hands well, he uses his outside hand to club the offensive lineman and uses his inside hand to rip up through the offensive lineman. Curry can’t bend the edge like some of the elite outside pass rushers and it shows here where he just can’t do enough to get to the quarterback.
Once again Curry just can’t get to the quarterback here but most plays you won’t as a pass rusher. Collapsing the pocket like he is able to do here always puts pressure on the quarterback though and can force mistakes. The offensive tackle is expecting Curry to try to bend the edge here as Curry starts by rushing up field. As you can see through, Curry takes a sharp step to the inside and charges the tackle head on while staying low and trying to hide his chest. The tackle actually does a decent job and manages to get his hands on Curry’s chest but Curry still pushes him back into the quarterback and this shows off his power again.
Right, let’s move on to a few clips of Curry rushing from inside as a defensive tackle on clear passing situations. I knew Curry rushed from the inside a lot last year but I couldn’t believe he did it so much. I can understand why though, he is really good at rushing from the defensive tackle position, much better than I realized if I’m honest. Although Curry doesn’t really get anywhere here, he does look like he’s going to beat the center but is knocked over by the over guard. I think we’ll see this look a lot next year on third down too, Barwin-Curry-Cox-Graham. Good luck opposing quarterbacks on third and long!
Here Curry gets the sack with another great swim move. He keeps his chest hidden so the offensive guard can’t get a strong punch at the start which is key. Even when being doubled at the start Curry keeps his legs moving and this just shows how strong he is. Once again if you pause the clip just after the snap of the ball, most the Eagles players haven’t even got going yet and Curry has already initiated contact with the guard. This is a great example of a quick first step and a great use of hands that results in a sack.
This is another good example of great hands and a quick first step. Curry has that guard beaten by using his inside hand to club the defender and then using his outside hand to swim around him. He uses his hands so quickly here, the guard has almost no chance of getting his hands on Curry’s chest. Sadly the center ends up in his way without even really trying to block him and Curry can’t get to the quarterback although he tries his best even when falling to the ground. Still, his pressure up the middle and Barwin’s outside rush forces Eli to step to the left and this results in him in walking straight into Graham’s rush.
This is such a great play, Curry is relentless as a rusher and it’s so fun to watch. He’s literally being doubled teamed the entire play yet he never gets pushed back he just keeps his legs moving and uses his hands well to fight off the offensive lineman and not let them stop his momentum. Just look at the power he shows as he fights through both blocks, you can literally see how much he wants to get to the quarterback. It’s awesome to watch, Schwartz is going to love this guy.
In these posts I try to point out a players strengths and weaknesses. Honestly, Curry doesn’t have a lot of weaknesses when rushing the quarterback. But I guess if I had to be picky, he does rely on bull rushes a lot when lining up inside. He’s not an elite bend the edge type guy anyway but when he’s playing as a defensive tackle he tries to overpower guards a lot of the time by bull rushing them. He’s rushing the left guard here and as you can see sometimes he just won’t be able to overpower these guys so he needs to have a better counter move when he gets locked up with an offensive lineman. Here he doesn’t really use his hands and he fails to use a counter move after finding himself locked up with the lineman.
Let’s end on an awesome play, because why not? This play is kind of random, as you can see the two inside linebackers are Cox and Curry. Just look how athletic Curry is though, he bends the edge well and converts speed to power really well here. Once again he uses his hands excellently and stops the offensive lineman from getting his hands on his chest. I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing Curry used as a linebacker occasionally on passing downs, he looks pretty good!
To be a great pass rusher, you need to be relentless. Vinny Curry is exactly that. He rushes the quarterback every snap like his life depends on him getting to the quarterback which is exactly the mentality that you need to have. Curry is going to excel next season and the sky really is the limit for him in Schwartz’ scheme.
Curry is a pretty special pass rusher. He’s not an elite bend the edge guy but he’s a good athlete and can still bend the edge well enough but he can also win with just pure power. He has an incredible first step and also uses his hands extremely well which is a deadly combination. I saw a number of good pass rushing moves including the rip and swim move consistently and he was very good at getting low and hiding his chest to prevent offensive lineman from getting a strong initial punch on him.
Curry can beat you in a number of different ways but just like anyone he isn’t perfect. Curry wins early so often that he hasn’t really developed a strong counter move if he does lose the initial battle at the line of scrimmage. Sometimes he will rely on his first step and the bull rush move too much when lining up inside as a defensive tackle and elite guards will not let him simply overpower them. However, overall Curry is a really impressive pass rusher who will be aiming for double digit sacks next year and should get there.
Final note from me, if you like these posts feel free to follow the blog and follow me on twitter of course (@JonnyPage9) – I’ll be having more film room pieces out in the future on Lane Johnson and maybe Jordan Matthews. Also, if you want to see me breakdown anyone else tweet me or comment below and I’ll see what I can do. I’ve already broke down Brandon Brooks, Isaac Seumalo, Nelson Agholor and Eric Rowe and you can see all of these by clicking here!