Eagles Notes: Kevin Curtis, Darren Howard

Bob Grotz makes the argument that Kevin Curtis has the credentials of a #1 receiver

Curtis had a career-best 77 receptions worth 1,110 yards and six touchdowns last season.

All of the numbers ranked among the NFC leaders, and in some cases, the NFL leaders.

What makes them remarkable is it was Curtis’ first year in the West Coast offense, a scheme so ridiculously complicated it takes players years to learn. It also was a year in which McNabb, rebounding from major knee surgery, didn’t get his feet under him until the homestretch.

Curtis ranked eighth in the NFC in receiving yards, ahead of the celebrated Plaxico Burress (1,025 yards) of the New York Giants, Steve Smith (1,002) of the Carolina Panthers, Anquan Boldin (853) of the Arizona Cardinals and — why not? — Williams (836) of the Detroit Lions.

Though Curtis was 13th in the conference in touchdown receptions, behind Burress (12), Boldin (9) and Smith (7), the Eagles struggled mightily in the red zone.

Later in that article Curtis goes on to say he wasn't put off or insulted by the Eagles' pursuit of a big name WR this offseason and would welcome one if something did happen before the season...

I like Kevin Curtis and clearly he looks like one of the better free signings of the Andy Reid era, especially as far as expectations go, but I'd have a hard time labeling him as a marquee receiver. Let's see what happens in year two.

One of the guys that actually garnered a good bit of surprise praise at the mincamp was Darren Howard. Howard was pretty much left for dead after last year where he was relegated to no more than situational DT. We all remember when he was brought in for pretty good money to be solution at DE opposite Jevon Kearse... As it turned out , neither were a solution... but Howard could end up playing a role here anyway.

Only this wasn't the Howard of the past two seasons, the one signed to a six-year, $30.5 million deal and expected to wreak havoc opposite Kearse in the Eagles pass rush.

This wasn't the frustrated Howard, who never came close to fulfilling that contract, lost his starting job and eventually faded into the shadows of the NovaCare Complex.

This Howard had trimmed down by 10 pounds, expressed optimism about 2008 and had accepted his role on the team.

Hey, he still has one right now.

"My whole career, I've always been one of the guys, if not the guy, on the defensive line," Howard said after the minicamp, recalling double-digit sack seasons with New Orleans.

"I talked to [defensive line coach] Pete Jenkins before the camp and I talked about my role, and I understand that and I accept that. ... For the last two years, I didn't really understand what my role was going to be because it wasn't always clear. Now that I know where it is, I know where I fit with this team and I know where I can contribute."

The way I see it, there's a spot for a 4th DT open here and Howard has just as good a shot at that as anyone. With Trent Cole, 2nd year man Victor Abiamiri,  Juqua Parker, free agent Chris Clemons, and 3rd round pick Brian Smith all but assured of roster spots... the DE position is pretty crowded.

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