The setting was perfect. Ten people in a backroom, filled to the brim with potatoes chips, pretzels, and all kinds of goodies. No one was drunk – but there was definitely a few cold ones cranked open. The TV’s volume was so loud, it was impossible to hold a feasible, coherent conversation. At best, you can communicate via smiling, nodding or hand gestures of approval or disapproval. Oh yes, football season is here. Seasonal superstition, wishful thinking, and arrogance is back. Football has arrived. It was time to commemorate. Granted, it’s preseason football, but it is still football nonetheless. Oh, the cold and lonely months endured after seeing another team – a fellow NFC team – hoist a Lombardy trophy is officially in the rearview and things are beginning to feel warm again. Summer’s over in less than a month, but by golly, the temperature is just starting to crank up because football is where it’s at, and teams will either bring the heat or bake in it. Last Friday, the Philadelphia Eagles did both.
On the surface, the team may have appeared lukewarm. Rookie wide receiver Jordan Matthews was shockingly subpar with his efforts. Potential quarterback of the future, Nick Foles did not leave the field sizzling, but was put out by a cold bucket of Chicago water. Linebacker DeMeco Ryans confirmed that he might be a liability in traffic. The defense as a whole, looked eerily familiar to what Philadelphia Eagles’ fans has become accustomed to the past few seasons. One player in particular that was bringing the heat, from start to finish, was defensive end, Vinny Curry. This guy was simply on fire. I’m just going to say, and if I happen to be incorrect, may the football gods strike me down where I sit as I write these words: Vinny Curry is unblockable.
I specifically watched him on every snap he played, and I lie to you not, he entered the offensive backfield on almost every down he was in. As a matter of fact, I can remember one run play in particular, before the quarterback could hand the ball to the running back, Curry was in his mitt. He barely missed the sack, and the defense gave up a tolerable running play. Speaking of sacks, the Eagles’ lone sack came courtesy of Vinny Curry’s individual efforts.
Eagles’ defensive coordinator Billy Davis needs to quickly find a way to put Curry on the field and keep him there. Supposedly, Curry is not that great against the run. I am oversimplifying that of course, but that is all it comes down to. Because Vinny Curry is not viewed as a strong run defender, then he cannot start – and will be more of a situational player in 2014, such as on obvious passing downs. That sounds great, but where have we heard that before? This is his third – his third – year coming up and he always had Pro Bowl potential but lacked the confidence of every staff that housed him. Repeatedly there were promises that his time was coming but it never has, and my fear is that he will go down as a wasted talent.
As fans, we all tend to oversimplify staff’s decisions and why is it that they do what they do, or why they refuse to make the decisions that appears most obvious. When they give explanations, we do not really know what they mean exactly, but we understand to the best of our ability, and we became experts at making educated guesses especially involving sports. For the life of me, I cannot understand why Vinny Curry did not bypass defensive end Cedric Thornton for the starting job. I am big on Thornton, and a huge, huge fan of his. Enamor aside, no one can convince me that Vinny Curry is not the Eagles’ best defensive lineman. He is that damn good; he is that damn efficient when on the field.
Linebacker Brandon Graham is another story for another day. I seen him actually in coverage during the Chicago Bears game. I just shook my head. I do not know of any offensive line in all of football that can block Graham and Curry on the same play. I would hope that Davis realizes that too, but of course, I am just a fan, and it may not be as simple as that. Nonetheless, football is back, and I am dying to see Billy Davis sprinkling some Curry on opposing offenses; forcing them to account for a serious defensive weapon.
It is “only preseason” as they say. Nothing is set in stone, and everyone says preseason means nothing. Well, tell that to a guy that watches the first preseason game like it was a Super Bowl. I think Philadelphia Eagles’ fans are the only fans that count preseason wins and losses and place entire judgments around preseason performance, and I would prefer it no other way. What can I say? It is so hard – but incredibly fun – watching them Birds play.
Bring on the New England Patriots!