Week after week went by with fans asking for Vinny Curry to take the field for the Eagles, and when he finally did, he made them look smart for doing so.
The 2nd round pick was very impressive against the Panthers, finishing with 1 quarterback hurry, 4 tackles and 3 stops on Monday night in limited action.
"I thought Vinny did some good things," Andy Reid said after the game. "I know he was in on a number of plays. He's one of those kids that brings a positive energy. He plays hard and aggressive."
One play that stood out was a play Curry actually didn't make. Curry beat his man and got a chance to bring down Cam Newton, but couldn't bring him down. Despite missing, Curry hustled back up the field and brought Newton down just as he was about to take off. The play did not go down as a sack since Newton gained a few yards, but it showed what could make Curry a special player- his ability to get the quarterback and the hustle he brings to the field.
The fact that Curry got as much pressure as he did despite playing only 22 snaps- and just 9 passing plays- has to have the Eagles excited about his future.
Whether Curry can keep up the solid play remains to be seen. If he does, however, the Eagles will have a tough decision to make in the offseason.
Many believe that with Jim Washburn likely on his way out, Jason Babin will follow him. The fact that Brandon Graham has outplayed Babin this year only increases that chances that Babin will not be here next year. If Curry can show enough potential, it will be interesting to see if the Eagles decide to completely rebuild and cut Trent Cole as well. Cutting Cole would make Graham and Curry the starting defensive ends. The Eagles have invested top draft picks in both Curry and Graham. The defensive line might suffer a drop off in production with Babin and Cole gone, but given the down year both Babin and Cole are having, the drop off might not be as big as one might think.
The move to the younger players might also help to change the attitude on the defensive line that they are a top unit despite being at the bottom of the league in production. It might sound crazy to cut Cole a year after signing him to an extension, but the fact is that no one in the Eagles thought they would end this season beginning to rebuild. When evaluating each player, they will have to ask themselves if that player is in the team's long term plans.
Despite having a great career here in Philadelphia, Cole might not be anymore if Curry can keep it up.
Follow Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks