Some Curry, Casey Talk

Posted: September 11th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 39 Comments »

Vinny Curry was inactive vs the Skins. James Casey played, but only had 2 snaps on offense. What gives?

Matchups had a lot to do with it. Chip Kelly said the Eagles were only going to dress 6 DL. Curry was the #7 guy. That’s why he sat. But why only dress 6 DL?

The Skins are primarily a running team. RG3 only threw more than 30 passes 4 times in 2012. Curry is a pass rusher right now. I know he’s made some plays vs the run, but they involved shooting gaps. That’s not a regular part of the Eagles scheme at this moment. If Kelly thought the Eagles would be up 33-7, he’d have likely played Curry. There is no question that Vinny can be a very disruptive player.

Kelly has said repeatedly that he doesn’t believe in hypotheticals. He makes plans around what he knows and thinks is likely to happen. Kelly figured the game would be close and that would mean lots of running the ball. Because of that he wanted Damion Square and Clifton Geathers active over Curry.

Many of you will fall back on how good Curry looked this summer. I’ve said it a few times, but it bears repeating. Preseason play can be very deceiving. Curry did a lot of good things, but not all of them came within the confines of the defense. The coaches want players that will execute the scheme in a reliable, consistent fashion. Freelancing is not accepted. But Curry made plays, you say. Why not take that? Curry lit up backup blockers and skill players. Going against starters is very different. Just ask the Skins defenders who tried to tackle Shady McCoy compared to tackling other players from this summer.

Curry isn’t done as an Eagle. If the coaches think San Diego will throw the ball a lot, Curry might just be active this week.

There is one other consideration here. The Eagles wanted Najee Goode active so he could play on STs. But he’s new to the scheme and couldn’t play defense. That meant the coaches had to keep all 5 ILBs active. They needed the starters, the backups and Goode. If Goode can start to get a feel for the scheme, maybe one of the backup ILBs can sit and open a spot for Curry.

* * * * *

Kelly said the Eagles wanted to be in “11 personnel” against the Skins. That is 1 RB, 1 TE. That limited playing time for both Zach Ertz and James Casey.

Again, this was all about matchups. Kelly and the offensive staff will want lots of TEs soon enough and Casey will be a much bigger part of the offensive attack.

Chip Kelly wants to adjust the lineup and scheme on a week by week basis to get the most favorable matchups in a game. It will take us a while to get used to this, but it really does make a lot of sense. Kelly wants to take advantage of situations. He’s not going to force a square peg into a round hole.

I like the fact that Kelly was willing to at least partially explain the thinking behind these moves. He didn’t fill in all the blanks, but gave us enough information to make a reasonable guess.

* * * * *

In case you missed this, Jimmy Bama put together his list of awards for the Eagles/Skins game. My favorite.

The MVP of the Universe Award: Donnie Jones. Last season, the Eagles had one punt in which the opposing team had to start inside the 10 yard line. One freaking punt. Against the Redskins, he had one punt that was fair caught at the 5, which later turned into a safety when RG3 and Alfred Morris fumbled a pitch. Then later he hit a directional punt out of bounds at the 6. Oh, and he hit a 61 yard bomb.

And his holding on FGs and PATs was sublime.

Check out the link to find out why the Eagles are in 1st place and also to be confused by Jon Dorenbos. Good stuff from Dr. Bama.

_


  • Phils Goodman

    Kelly has said repeatedly that he doesn’t believe in hypotheticals. He makes plans around what he knows and thinks is likely to happen. Kelly figured the game would be close and that would mean lots of running the ball. Because of that he wanted Damion Square and Clifton Geathers active over Curry.

    I don’t think that logic stands up. It’s one thing to have your hunches, but a smarter strategy involves hedging your bets and leaving room for error. You don’t know which way the game is going to unfold beforehand. Sopoaga AND Square AND Logan AND Geathers ahead of Curry becomes run-stuffing overkill, especially since only 2 of those guys can see the field at the same time. It’s too many duplicate skills in your deep reserves when none of them bring the same element as your one inactive. That’s just not covering all your bases. I’m dressing one of my top 2 interior pass-rushers before I dress my 4th-best run-stuffer.

    • Anders

      Square, Logan and Geathers all saw the field at the same time. With Square been the NT at Logan and Geathers been the DEs.

      Also if Curry is freelancing, then he will never see the field unless there is injury or the coaches trusts him to not free lance

    • TommyLawlor

      Disagree all you like, but that’s how Kelly thinks. You need to understand it and then learn how to live with it.

      I wanted Curry on the field too, but that will only happen when he fits in Kelly’s plans.

      • Weapon Y

        Of course there’s nothing I can do about it. Chip’s the coach and I’m not. I prefer it that way. Still, I can see a double standard in the way he runs the offense and the way he runs the defense. Nick Foles didn’t fit the mobile QB mold Kelly usually had, but Kelly saw enough talent to make the offense suit his ability anyway. Meanwhile, Curry gets shafted despite outplaying several guys who are in now. If Kelly is upset that Curry is getting sacks and tackles for a loss using a different technique than the other linemen, maybe he should tell the other linemen to do what Curry is doing instead of the other way around. Clearly the flexibility and adaptation to personnel that we see on the offense isn’t there on the defense too.

        • Tom33

          I love the way Curry plays and how he seems to make an impact most of the time he is in the game. That being said, the Eagles have had 2 HC’s, 3 DC’s and 3 DL coaches who, for the most part, have decided to have him inactive on game days. There’s got to be more than meets the eye.

        • eagleyankfan

          freelancing is not playing as a “team”. I think it’s that simple. If he’s freelancing and the other 10 are doing as they are told — the freelancer is the weak link. When he plays and freelances, we see some good thing — but what about all the other plays? Maybe if he doesn’t freelance, the D is more “solid”(and you see where to fix). If he’s freelancing and offensive plays are productive, where do you fix? the freelancer or the other 10 players? Changing all the players to play like 1 guy? That doesn’t make sense.

          • Weapon Y

            I get that argument, but I’m not sure that addresses my point. Is Vinny Curry really worse than Square or Geathers? Everything they can do, he can do better. All I want is to have the best guys on the field and tailor the defensive scheme to their strengths. Simple concept. Chip alters his offense based on the guys on the field there, but he doesn’t for defense. I didn’t see Curry make a single mistake in preseason games. It would be one thing if he constantly buried when he was supposed to 2-gap. That never happened. He did better 2-gapping than Damion Square and Clifton Geathers. So what if he isn’t doing EVERYTHING Chip wants. Nobody does. Cox, Sopoaga, Thornton, etc all made mistakes too, even more than Curry did. The logic seems to be: Vinny Curry is doing what we want better than Square and Geathers. But he’s still not doing everything, so we need to teach him a lesson by playing guys who are inferior at doing what we want. 2-Gap, 1-Gap. I don’t care. Curry is better at both than Square and Geathers. Someone please tell me why I’m wrong that Vinny Curry is worse than Clifton Geathers or Damion Square.

          • bridgecoach

            I think we are arguing in pre-chip-storic paradigm. Vinny Curry should play if he makes more plays than Square/Geathers. Or Vinny Curry should’nt play if he is free lancing instead of contributing to the system.

            I think there is a third option: Curry can play within the system AND make more plays than Square/Geathers AND still have to sit vs the Redskins — for exactly the reason Chip Kelly said.

            Our players play more snaps. Sure we tire out opposing defenses, but our defense is also on the field more. Chip believed that our run stuffing defensive line would need maximum rotation to hold up – and made the call to lock that in. At this stage of their conditioning and development, that was his decision. The coaching staff came up with a defensive plan, and Chip Kelly evaluated that plan over 70+ defensive snaps and had to adjust the active roster to put the players in the best position to be successful executing the plan.

            I don’t think this is a slight on Curry as a player. Nor is it a signal that he is on the trading block. It was simply a matchup thing. That – and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Chip Kelly’s decision is also based on a short week and who he anticipates he will use week 2.

        • Phils Goodman

          This “double-standard” between O and D just might be the difference between the way Kelly and Davis operate. I certainly know which one of the two inspires more confidence.

      • Phils Goodman

        I think that’s all beside the point. Whether or not that is the precise logic behind Kelly (or Davis’) decision, I don’t think it’s sound reasoning for keeping Curry inactive. NFL games are notoriously unpredictable after all, and in reality the Eagles found themselves in a situation in the 2nd half that was much more suited for Curry’s skills rather than the reserve DL they had activated. Luckily they had a large enough lead.

  • DaO_Z

    Something has to be going on behind the scenes; that the fans aren’t privy to, if Curry’s agent is talking trade…..

    Was really hoping to see more 4-3 once the Eagles were up big in the second half. Actually get to see what we all wanted to see last year; Graham across from Cole.

    • Anders

      Or the agent answered a question from a reporter and have never thought off, but thought it could be a solution in the end

  • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

    The guy does things differently, but not impulsively. There are very real, long thought out, quantified reasons why he does EVERYTHING. I accept I may not understand that and am willing just to go along for the ride. And if the first game is any indication…what a ride it will be.

  • Christian Fizia

    I think it´s funny that Jimmy gets paid for writting like a fan.

    • Arby1

      He brings a bloggers informality to sportswriting. It’s totally refreshing and I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t threaten the stuffy atmosphere over there at philly.com a la Ford and Sheridan.

      • Christian Fizia

        @Arby1:disqus
        Don´t get me wrong. Jimmy is great. He´s totally different from the rest of the journalists and I love him for the fact he loves the Eagles. As a Giants, Cowboys or Team from Washington Fan I would hate him. If you like his style you should listen to the helmet 2 helmet podcast.

    • BlindChow

      I’m really glad he was allowed to keep his style (and art) when he made the move, and I love that they appreciated him enough to bring him on full time.

      I used to steadfastly avoid the comments over there, but it really cracks me up to see the philly.com mouth-breathing commentariat scratching their heads in confusion over Jimmy’s posts.

  • Christian Fizia

    @Tommy And I would buy into your idea about Casey that he would be used more with different opponents. But he wasn´t used in the PreSeason at all. I wonder if he´s gone after the trade deadline.

    • TommyLawlor

      Kelly directly spoke about Casey and told the story about the 11 personnel. As for the preseason, I think that was simply done to get Ertz more reps since he’s a rookie.

      We’ll see.

      • Cafone

        I wouldn’t mind a refresher on the virtues of Casey compared to Ertz. I’ve been assuming Ertz is more of a receiver and Casey is more of a blocker. Is that correct?

        Also, it seemed to me that Ertz dropped a lot of balls in the preseason. Let’s hope he is just adjusting to the strength of Vick’s passes.

        Re: trading Casey. He does seem to have a pretty big salary for a #3 TE (4 mil a year I think) but I think if they intended to trade him they would have done it before now and kept Clay Harbor. Cutting Harbor is probably a pretty good sign that they intend to hang on to Casey.

  • Daniel Norman Richwine

    I completely agree. Was isn’t just a running team, they are a read option running team. One way to fight the RO is to play a two gap defense, this helps undermine the matchup problems the RO presents. Curry has not shown he can he a two gap guy, so he didn’t plan to be used that much.
    Hindsight is 20-20, and I suspect Chip would loved to have him out there in the 2nd half, but you can’t second guess yourself too much.

  • Anders

    I know Kelly said that ST played a part, but I do wonder if the lack of healthy CBs also played in that we used all 5 safeties. I do wonder if we only go with 4 active safeties once we got 5 healthy CBs.

    • TommyLawlor

      Possible. Definitely a good point to consider.

  • Mike Flick

    We have to change our thinking to understand his thinking.

    This was one corner stone: “You can never have enough pass rushers.” Get to the QB, was THE thing. On the flip side, it was all about speed on the skill position players.

    Now we are favoring guys that are gap sound, and special teams ability? We are playing Avant and Cooper all game because they block?

    Watch the games of the Skins last year. They killed teams by running the ball. Last year our Teams sucked, and we did have what 6 DEs? Guys who we couldn’t afford to loose.

    It sucks to not see us with more pass rushers, but we did hold Morris to 45yds rushing, and our teams coverage was solid.

    Sucks to not see 4 TE sets, but the game plan was clearly to take advantage of their lack of depth in the 2ndary.

    When you start digging into the details, you see how different Kelly and Reid are in regard to the selecting of the 53 man roster and who is active on game day.

    Mike

  • Weapon Y

    A better question, in my opinion, is why is Vinny Curry behind Damion Square and Clifton Geathers on the depth chart? He did fine defending the run in preseason. Better than those guys. I don’t accept that as a legit reason. Not just that. The Eagles pass rush in the 4th quarter was not good. Curry could’ve made a difference if he was there. I honestly think Chip and Davis have some non-football bias against Curry. It sounds crazy, but it’s not unprecedented for a head coach to do that. There’s no football reason to keep that man on the bench.

  • Mike Flick

    Just saw Acho was signed to the Giants practice squad. So maybe he won’t make the HOF.

  • deg0ey

    I find it hard to argue with Kelly’s decision to leave Curry out of this game when it worked so spectacularly. The Redskins were the #1 rushing offense last season (170 yards per game) and the #20 passing offense (214 yards per game). The gameplan was clearly to stop the run and trust that Washington isn’t good enough to beat you through the air – and that’s exactly what happened.
    They were held to 74 rushing yards (20th in the league this weekend) and RG3′s passer rating of 77.7 suggests that it was a safe bet that he couldn’t do enough to win the game with his arm – I’d also suggest that the biggest reason they almost managed the comeback was that the offense struggled to kill the game off rather than the defense rolling over and letting them in (and those injuries to Fletcher and Boykin probably didn’t help matters).
    If I had Chip’s job, I’d have put Vinny in the game, but I also probably wouldn’t have put out a team that could win the game, so my opinion doesn’t really count for a lot. For that reason, I’ll probably wait until Kelly stops winning games before I complain about his decisions too much.

  • P_P_K

    Jimmy makes an excellent point about DJ’s punting. What a difference good field position makes.

  • bentheimmigrant

    So, was Curry bad on STs this summer? Kelly has made it clear STs is the only way to be a backup on this roster, and either him or Davis mentioned that was part of the reason he was inactive. Did anyone see anything bad from him in that respect?

    • aub32

      He may not be bad. He may just be slow compared to all the other guys. He did have to pack on some lbs, and the STs group looks really really fast.

  • Matthew Verhoog

    Special teams were so good that it’s tough to argue with Kelly about inactive s

  • Corry

    I didn’t see Kelly’s press conference and didn’t hear why he didn’t play Casey more, but to me it makes sense. The ‘Skins front 7 is their strength so why play into it by going with 12 personnel? Force them into a nickel look and force them to put weaker players on the field. And if they did stay in their base package and did put a linebacker on a reciever, I would gladly take that match up all day every day.

    Kelly takes a very pragmatic approach to the game. Don’t over think it and take advantage of the defense’s weakness. So it’s the polar opposite of Andy Reid.

  • Telmert

    I think it’s just too early to draw any conclusions. Kelly is a different type of thinker and seems like someone who might “season plan” in addition to game plan. What strategies he wants to use against different teams, what he wants to put on film for upcoming opponents, etc. Part of his thinking may have been that not only was 11 personnel better against Washington, but he would spring 2 and 3 tight end sets and different formations on SD (or KC) without giving them a chance to prepare. Same type of thing on the defensive side. You could see weeks where Curry and/or Casey (and Graham) get extensive time.

    On the other hand, if we look back after 16 weeks and those three guys don’t contribute as significant pieces, then I think they’ve mismanaged the roster. Not saying those guys have to play – just saying if they don’t fit, they should have been moved for pieces that do. Their talent base isn’t deep enough to have any go to waste.

  • eagleyankfan

    It sounds like Kelly is using his full roster, depending on the game plan. Which is pretty amazing when you think about. He’s not going to have the same people on the inactive(well, maybe that QB) each week. Each player needs to prepare to play(that’s a different mentality than in the past). Also, don’t lose focus that this is still a work in progress. He’s mixing and matching. After that first half of play — on offense AND defense — how can anybody question Kelly? That first half was pure perfection. I do think the offense got gassed. That OL got sloppy, including Peters.
    Now, other teams have tape to see some things Chip did. Also, the next team won’t have a “just returning from injury” QB. Test one — PASSED. Test 2 on Sunday.

  • BlindChow

    I hope his agent speaking out doesn’t keep Curry on the bench. I can see situations (more pass-oriented teams) where Curry would be a valuable asset, but if Kelly has him active this next game, it would appear to be rewarding the squeaky wheel…

  • aub32

    I don’t think people realize how much Kelly values STs, and I think that has more to do with Kelly’s choice. As Tommy said, Kelly’s not one to deal in hypotheticals. So he’s not going to activate Curry on the assumption “what if one of my D lineman gets hurt?”. Kelly wants guys who are going to contribute to each game. That’s why the ability to play STs plays such a big role for backups. That’s their way to contribute. It’s hard to imagine that after packing on a few pounds to play DE in a 3-4 that Curry has the speed to get down and cover kicks the way Kelly wants to. It’s even harder to argue with the results as the Redskins seemed to start nearly every drive inside their own 20. Curry will likely play when Kelly deems his skill set appropriate to make a significant contribution to the gameplan. I think that’s how he will use his entire group of inactives, outside of say Matt Barkley.

  • SteveH

    Well I’m disappointed that Curry didn’t play, but I’ll just point out that Curry got some time against the Jaguars ones in the preseason and he blew up plays against them too. Of course its the Jags we’re talking about here but… I just get the feeling his skillset could translate well into the regular season. Hopefully he gets a shot and it works out, I’d hate to see another high draft pick wasted.

  • http://FireFire.com/ Beavis

    I like Football.

  • http://FireFire.com/ Beavis

    Ehhh… so when does curry get a chance to play, when someone gets hurt? ehhhh that sucks hehehe hehehe hehehehehehehe