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.
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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.
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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.