You've got to hand it to Vinny Curry - the guy knows how to be useful.
When the Eagles' linebackers starting going down during training camp, Curry started learning the outside linebacker position. And with Marcus Smith II's status uncertain for the Monday opener against the Atlanta Falcons, it looks like Curry's move outside will stick.
"Vinny is out there full‑time now," head coach Chip Kelly said Wednesday. "So you've got Vinny, you've got Brad Jones and you've got Bryan Braman if Smitty can't go."
Kelly was quick to clarify, however, that Curry will still play along the defensive line as well.
"We have six outside linebackers, four inside linebackers and six defensive linemen," Kelly said, "But that doesn't mean Vinny is not going to line up on the defensive line in the Atlanta game ... everybody gets reps, but he's meeting with the outside linebackers now because he's been in the defensive line meeting room for a long time."
The move makes sense for both Curry and the team. With Smith ailing, the Eagles could use Curry's productivity at linebacker. And as Kelly said, Curry has been at defensive end for three seasons, and appears to be comfortable with the playbook at this point.
And for Curry, the move gives him the opportunity to play more. Last season he was among the team leaders in sacks, despite playing only a small percentage of the snaps. And going into a contract year, Curry can use all the playing time he can get.
Vinny Curry says he's becoming "a bookworm" to learn OLB position. Said he considers himself "a slasher" between OLB and DE— Martin Frank (@Mfranknfl) September 9, 2015
Connor Barwin working after practice with "OLB" Vinny Curry.— Les Bowen (@LesBowen) September 9, 2015
Curry was one of the Eagles' two second-round picks in the 2012 NFL Draft. A prototypical 4-3 defensive end, all signs pointed to he and Brandon Graham becoming the Eagles' starting ends down the line. But after Andy Reid's firing and Kelly's installation of a 3-4 defense, Curry became something of a man without a country.
But instead of getting rid of him, the Eagles found ways to use Curry's abilities, bulking him up and playing him as a situational pass-rushing defensive lineman. Curry finished 2014 with 19 total tackles, nine sacks and four forced fumbles - all while playing only 32 percent of the defensive snaps.