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Eagles Film Study: Curry very active in NFL debut

geoff mosher csnphilly

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 04:03 PM

Mosher

Eagles Film Study: Curry very active in NFL debut

November 28, 2012, 11:00 am

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Vinny Curry has arrived. He made his NFL debut in the first quarter Monday night against the Panthers and by the end of the game had established himself as the Eagles’ most active defensive lineman.

Why did it take so long for the second-round pick to get on the field? That’s a question with no rational answer. The pass rush had long struggled before head coach Andy Reid finally decided to activate Curry.

You can put that on the checklist of poor judgment calls Reid has made since the end of 2010 season -- promoting Juan Castillo to defensive coordinator, implementing the wide-nine scheme, allowing Howard Mudd to seize full control of the offensive line, etc., etc. As Donovan McNabb would say, the list goes on.

The good news for Curry is that he won’t be sidelined again anytime soon. He played 21 snaps against the Panthers and should see an increase in snaps Sunday night against Dallas with Jason Babin no longer on the team (see story).

Although Curry didn’t register a sack in his debut, a film review of the Eagles’ 30-22 loss showed that the New Jersey native and former Marshall standout made plays when he got on the field.

He actually made the tackle on his first NFL snap, dropping halfback Mike Tolbert after a three-yard gain. His most impressive plays came on consecutive snaps in the third quarter, after Bryce Brown’s first lost fumble gave the ball back to the Panthers at their own 32-yard line.

On 1st-and-10, Curry got off his block to tackle Jonathan Stewart, holding the halfback to a two-yard gain. On the next snap, Curry beat left tackle Jordan Gross with a swim move to the inside and then fended off a last-gasp block attempt from left guard Amini Silatolu to pursue Cam Newton.

Derek Landri suddenly shot through the line of scrimmage and nearly sacked Newton but instead slid off the quarterback’s waist. Curry gave it his best shot but also couldn’t wrap up the 245-pound specimen. Brandon Graham became victim No. 3 when he whiffed on his sack attempt.

By that time, Newton had escaped traffic and was headed downfield until he was brought down from behind by Curry, who had come all the way from about five yards behind scrimmage to tackle Newton after just a one-yard gain.

Curry made a similar play in the fourth quarter on a Newton scramble to his right side. Curry shook off the left tackle and ran across the field to chase down Newton and make the tackle after a three-yard pickup.

Here are more observations from film review:

Dallas Reynolds had some nice blocks in the running game. He got into the second level and sealed off hot-shot rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly to help Brown scamper for 20 yards and blocked out Kuechly again on a 24-yard Brown dash. His block on defensive tackle Sione Fua helped pave the way for Brown’s five-yard touchdown run.

As usual, though, Reynolds had some rough moments in pass protection. He got beat inside by tackle Dwan Edwards, which forced Nick Foles into a rushed third-down completion to Jeremy Maclin two yards short of a first down. On a pivotal play in the fourth, a 4th-and-1 run by Brown to the right side, Brown was stopped for no gain by Edwards, who had beaten Reynolds to the inside to get into the backfield.

• Foles hardly sparkled in his second NFL start but he made some nice adjustments at the line of scrimmage that probably went unnoticed in his 119-yard passing effort. Foles audibled into runs that went for decent gains on a couple of occasions when the Panthers showed blitz.

• If you didn’t already hate the wide nine, watching this game will do the trick. Defensive end Trent Cole frequently took himself out of position to contain Newton, who ran for 52 yards, because he was too busy shooting upfield and drilling the running back, who wouldn’t have the ball. Newton would fake the handoff and capitalize on the wide open lane to the outside. Wide nine means wide open. (We could mention a few Babin gaffes in run defense, too, but what’s the point now?)

Nnamdi Asomugha still has no interest in tackling ball carriers. On a 2nd-and-1 run by Tolbert, Asomugha ran toward the pile of Eagles' defenders attempting to gang tackle the halfback but then stopped dead in his tracks just a few feet away and watched -- even as Tolbert was still churning his legs and trying to get extra yards. Yes, he just watched.

Kurt Coleman tries very hard but he’s just not a starting safety in the NFL. He makes too many mistakes and isn’t strong enough or imposing enough to compensate. He was the culprit on Carolina’s first touchdown, biting on Newton’s pump fake to the right -- Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie's side -- and leaving the middle of the field open for Panthers tight end Gary Barnridge. DeMeco Ryans had covered Barnridge and then released to where Coleman was supposed to be. Coleman also lacks ball-in-the-air instincts, which is why he’s often outjumped or outmuscled on jump balls. Newton threw one up deep for Louis Murphy that should have been picked by either Coleman or DRC. Neither could make the play and Murphy -- who isn’t exactly having his bust enshrined in Canton -- had himself a 55-yard reception.

• The blame on Carolina’s second TD -- a Newton 43-yard pass to wide open Brandon LaFell -- goes to rookie corner Brandon Boykin, who blitzed from the slot to leave LaFell wide open. Boykin wasn’t supposed to blitz. Coleman was coming from the other side and Nate Allen had slid his coverage toward Coleman’s side, leaving no safety help on Boykin’s side of the field. And that’s precisely why Boykin wasn’t supposed to leave his man.

E-mail Geoff Mosher at gmosher@comcastsportsnet.com.