June 27, 2013
By JACK BOGACZYK
HUNTINGTON – To paraphrase a bogus quote that never quite made it to W.C. Fields’ tombstone, Vinny Curry would not rather be here than in Philadelphia.
He appreciates both locales.
Curry, the former Marshall University defensive line star, unquestionably loves his college town, and he’s back working out and sweating profusely here with former Herd teammates and younger Marshall players before heading back to the City of Brotherly Love to report for training camp on July 21.
Curry is pointed toward his second NFL season with the Eagles, and says things will be different this season … and not just because the club is led by a new staff headed by former Oregon Ducks Coach Chip Kelly.
“I’m here visiting friends,” Curry said earlier this week outside the Dunfee Weight Room, “but the big thing is I’m working out with the team, focusing myself on getting ready for the upcoming season.
“I honestly believe in my heart it’s going to be a big season for me and the Philadelphia Eagles.”
Curry, the No. 59 overall pick (second round) in last year’s NFL Draft, spent the first 10 games of his rookie season sitting, declared inactive on game days. The new Philadelphia staff includes new defensive coordinator Bill Davis, who Curry says has brought variety to the Eagle’s defense.
The base is a 3-4, and Curry is still rushing passers off the edge, as he did at Marshall and became the 2011 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year. However, it’s not that vanilla, the former Herd star said.
In OTA (Organized Team Activities) and minicamp, “I’ve been playing a little bit of everywhere,” Curry said. “It’s not just one position. Coach Davis and Coach Kelly are putting us in positions to succeed.
“I’ve played a little bit of 5 (technique, DE’s nose on the outside shoulder of the offensive tackle), a little bit of linebacker even … a little bit of here, little bit of there. It’s different.
“It’s not just a 3-4. It’s a 4-3, too, even a 4-4 sometimes. We’re going to mix it up, personnel packages, not one dimension, with different schemes, to help each player and the team be at their best.’
Reports from minicamp had Curry running No. 2 at end, getting reps on the top two units among Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton and fellow second-year man Clifton Geathers.
And while Curry predicts a big season for him and his club coming off an NFC East last-place (4-12) finish that cost veteran Coach Andy Reid his job, one thing is certain:
It will be a bigger season in one way for the one-time Herd great.
“I’ve gained about 25 pounds,” said Curry, who was in a 260 range as a rookie but is noticeably bigger in the torso than he was when chasing down C-USA quarterbacks. “I’m up to 283 now. That’s where I want to play.
“It’s a good weight for me, and my offseason program has helped, the weights, conditioning. It’s good weight. You know you’re bigger because you can see it, but you’re putting on muscle and getting cut. And yes, sir, I can still run as fast as I did before.”
Asked how he is a different player than he was starring for the Herd, Curry said, “I’m bigger, but my approach to the game is the same, hard work, all that. But it’s been about learning about playing more opposite offensive tackles and other offensive linemen (rather primarily outside). I’m way more smarter and skilled than I was.”
Curry is due $697,440 this coming season in the second year of his four-year, $3.23 million contract. He will celebrate his 25th birthday this Sunday, but the present he wants he knows won’t be given to him.
After sitting out the first 10 games last season, he broke in with a five-tackle performance in late November against Carolina. He’s hungry for more.
“I’ll never forget how I felt being inactive for those 10 games,” Curry said. “It drives you. It definitely changed my way of thinking about things. Some players in that situation lose themselves and lose confidence, but me, I just gained confidence.
“I knew eventually my time would come, and when my number was called, I could get in there and perform like the Eagles thought I could when they drafted me, like I thought I could perform.”
Curry, from Neptune, N.J., was drafted by his favorite team. Now, he wants to establish himself with his “Iggles.”
That drive continues at training camp at the club’s NovaCare Complex in south Philly.
“There are no excuses this season. It’s up to me,” Curry said. “I felt like at the beginning of last season, that I could play, but it was a waiting game for me and I played it out, tried to stay patient.
“Now, this year, I’ve come back here to Marshall, do my work, get ready, and let’s get this show on the road.”
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Curry said he is looking forward to the part of camp when the Eagles will practice with the visiting New England Patriots for two days (June 6-7) before the two teams meet in an Aug. 9 preseason opener at Lincoln Financial Field.
That’s when Curry will have a chance to reunite with former Marshall teammate Aaron Dobson, the Pats’ rookie wideout who was – like Curry a year earlier – the No. 59 overall selection in the NFL Draft.
Year-to-year details on terms in Dobson’s four-year contract, signed last Thursday, have become available.
Dobson signed for $3.428 million, including $1.173 million guaranteed. He received a signing bonus of $873,360.
The former Herd star receiver’s deal escalates from $405,000 for his rookie season. Dobson is due $560,835 in 2014, $716,670 in 2015 and $872,505 in the final season of the contract (2016).