Before every game, the coaches must decide which seven of their 53 players on the roster will not suit up. Often times the choices are easy. Injuries can take players out, and up-and-comers who need a little more seasoning are often watching from the sidelines. But this season, figuring out the inactive list always starts with one question – "Is this the week we finally see defensive end Vinny Curry?"
Sunday's contest against the Falcons may be Curry's best chance yet. With fellow defensive end Phillip Hunt listed as questionable on the injury report, new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles may be inclined to see what the second-round pick can do.
"Vinny's been working hard and he's been practicing hard," Bowles said Thursday. "The D-line, with the defensive ends especially, it's a tough rotation. It's tough breaking in, no matter who you are. But I think Vinny's chances will come and I think he has a bright future ahead of him and I think you'll be seeing him in the future."
But if Bowles has decided to play him now, he has yet to inform Curry.
"I didn't get the word yet," he said this week. "But all I can do is continue to go out there, practice hard and continue to give these (coaches) a good look."
Curry was a luxury pick when the Eagles snagged him 59th overall in April's draft. Players like Darryl Tapp, Brandon Graham and Philip Hunt were (and are) all in line before Curry, not to mention Pro Bowl starters Trent Cole and Jason Babin. Still, Curry's motor and toughness were too much for the Eagles' brass to pass up.
"This is a kid that, when you watch the tape, you have a grin on your face the entire time," said NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock when the Eagles drafted Curry. "He's going to get hustle sacks. He's going to play tough against the run."
Curry showed flashes of that talent in the preseason. He led the team with 17 tackles, five of which were for a loss. He also chipped in two sacks. But the Eagles opted to keep six defensive ends, making Curry a casualty of the numbers game.
To his credit, Curry hasn't let that slow him down. He's been a familiar face in the locker room and on the sidelines. And though he hasn't suited up, he takes pride in being part of his favorite team growing up. That includes sharing the good times, and the bad ones, with his teammates. And when it comes to the much-discussed play of his defensive line, Curry sees plenty of positives.
"When we were in the film room and we're watching it, they're collapsing the pocket pretty well," Curry said, "But at the same time, the quarterback is getting rid of the ball faster than any team they ever played against. When you're playing this game, you stopwatch things on how fast the quarterback is getting the ball out. He's getting the ball out super fast."
Head coach Andy Reid indicated that there may be some changes made to the team on gameday. And while fans shouldn't expect Curry to start, or even play a large number of snaps, it's not unreasonable to wonder if we'll finally see the Marshall alum in action. But right now, Curry knows as much as the rest of us.
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