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Vinny Curry had a quiet rookie season. He bulked up in the off-season and then made the transition to playing end in the 3-4. Curry had to learn how to play 2-gap technique at the NFL level. This was a huge change for a player who preferred to explode off the ball and get up the field. Go re-watch the preseason games. Curry fell back on his old habits. He flew off the ball. He made plays. But he didn't do what Kelly and the staff wanted. Curry wasn't active for the first two games. Many people, including me, complained. Surely, the coaches could see they needed him on the field.

The coaches did play Curry in Week 3, but they mixed him in carefully. Curry was mainly used as a pass rusher. Since then, the coaches have continued to work with Curry. He has now gotten to the point where he is a reliable run defender. On Sunday, Curry made a good play using 2-gap technique. He shed a block and tackled Griffin III on a run up the middle. That was a key stop. The very next play is when Barwin hit Griffin III and the ball came loose. Curry continues to shine when allowed to attack upfield, but has become a more complete player.

Defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro has his players hit the sled every day. He wants them to understand how to use their hands and how to shed blocks so that it becomes second nature. This emphasis on fundamentals has paid off with Curry. I think the coaches bringing Curry along slowly was also important. They made him realize that he had to do things their way. You can't have a good defense if players freelance. Players must do their specific job to make the scheme work. Curry didn't seem to get that in the summer, but he got their message loud and clear when he sat on the bench for a couple of games.
Where is this from? My perspective was that Vinny must be a poor in practice, given the fact that he does seem to make an impact on the field. Not playing within the scheme certainly would justify not getting on the field. For every big play we see as fans, the coaches see the opposite where that player's negligence led to something going wrong. That's almost impossible to detect as a casual observer.
I'd like to follow the link also, but I listened to Diddy on the radio yesterday while he was talking about the defense's improvement. He credited much to the coaching of Davis and his staff. He used a couple of examples: Cox - they him changed from a two gap player to one gap where he was more comfortable; Cole - they have restricted or eliminated his coverage responsibilities and are using his strength of moving up field as a pass rusher.

No doubt the defense remains a work in progress and it should improve as they find players like Barwin who fit what they want to accomplish. In the mean time, it's refreshing to see the coaches adjusting what they want to do to the talent they have available. Curry is a young player who may be able to learn to fit the scheme. That's two sides of coaching: being flexible and smart about what you demand from your players and being able to teach your player how to do what is needed in the scheme.
Bocadelphia Eagles John
This team is fun to watch again. But what the heck do I do with that joy if they're off today. Bye sucks. Oh, wait, it's warm and sunny out, I'll go meet some friends for breakfast, that'll get things started for me ...

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