The Inqy ran an interesting piece on Kevin Curtis today.
Posted on Fri, Jan. 4, 2008
Paul Domowitch | Curtis quick to earn respect
by Paul Domowitch
Philadelphia Daily News
WHEN BRIAN Dawkins found out last March that the Eagles had signed wide receiver Kevin Curtis to a 6-year, $30 million free-agent contract, well, let's just say he didn't pop open a bottle of Dom Perignon.
"Respect isn't given," the six-time Pro Bowl free safety said. "It's earned. Coming in, getting the contract he got, I'm not saying it wasn't deserved. But nobody really knew.
"But he far exceeded what I thought as far as his playmaking ability. What he was able to do on the field this year was impressive."
Curtis caught 77 passes, which was the fourth most by an Eagles wideout since the league went to a 16-game season in 1978. He had 1,110 receiving yards, which was the seventh most by an Eagle since '78. And he averaged 14.4 yards per catch, which was eighth among NFL receivers with at least 60 receptions this season.
But while Curtis might have long ago earned the respect of Dawkins and his other teammates, the rest of Eagles Nation seems to be a little slower in coming around.
They've been showing their appreciation for Curtis' impressive season by calling the talk shows and/or sending out e-mail missives to the media clamoring for an upgrade to the wide-receiving corps.
Welcome to Philly, Kev.
Don't take that as a vote against bringing in a veteran wide receiver this offseason. The more pass-catching weapons they can add to this offense, the better.
But let's give Curtis a little respect. He proved this season that he can be a solid starting wideout in this league.
Part of his problem is that he's a tad undersized - 5-11 and only about 185 pounds.
"For a little guy," offensive tackle Jon Runyan said when asked his impressions of Curtis, "he's strong and he's not scared of anything. The only problem is he's a little on the small side."
Another part of his problem is that he's white, which, in most people's minds, translates to slow.
Curtis is one of just five white starting wide receivers in the league. But the notion that he's slow is a fallacy. He ran a 4.41 40 at his predraft workout in 2003. That's faster than Javon Walker (4.43), faster than Deion Branch (4.51), faster than Bernard Berrian (4.59), faster than Reggie Wayne (4.55), faster than Larry Fitzgerald (4.52), faster than many receivers who are considered more dangerous vertical threats than the Utah native.
"Everybody gets stereotyped," an AFC personnel man said. "I'm don't know that it's malicious. Sometimes it is. But sometimes, you almost get trained. You take for granted that that's what it is. Like the John Fogerty song says, 'It must be true because I heard it on the radio.'
"Curtis can run. If he's not 4.4 speed, he's 4.4 quick. He's a good [No.] 2 receiver. He's just not real big, and big seems to be in vogue right now. So maybe that's part of the issue with him. Smaller guys are viewed as Wes Welkers and slot guys."
Here's some more stuff on Curtis from what I've been seeing.
Curtis was targeted on 133 passes this year (Reggie Brown was the target on 112, Baskett on 22, Lewis on 23, Avant on 28). Despite the feeling that Curtis' stats were inflated by the Detroit game, he was targeted 68 times in the first 8 games and 65 times in the second 8. The great Detroit game is balanced off by his poor showing against the Redskins one week earlier where he went 4 of 11 for 28 yards in what was easily his worst game of the season.
Curtis was targeted about 30 more times than Stallworth would have been prorated to a full 16 games last year (Stallworth had 90 passes thrown his way in 14 games, including 2 in the first series against Atlanta and including the playoffs). Some of these passes came at the expense of Lewis/Avant/Baskett, who had 95 pass attempts in 2006 and just 80 in 2007, but they didn't come at the expense of Brown, who had 104 attempts in 2006 vs. 112 this year.
Looked at in the big picture, I really don't understand why people want to move Curtis to the slot. If the Eagles were to go and get a Fitzgerald or a Johnson, they'd be better off moving Brown to the slot and trading Avant or Baskett to a WCO receiver starved team like the Vikings or Bucs. Curtis' best numbers came from playing outside as a starter in 2005 and 2007, where he was able to average about 15 yards per catch. As a slot receiver in 2004 and 2006 he averaged about 10 yards per catch. So moving him inside, you'd not only be taking away at least 50% of his touches, but you'd also reduce his yardage probably by 2/3.