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Game review: Vinny Curry's dominant first step

At the 2012 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, I noted 15 players who impressed me during the week of practices. Marshall DE Vinny Curry was among the players I highlighted:

Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall – Tremendous burst off the edge on the snap.  Outstanding first step.  In drills he was going 1-on-1 against interior offensive linemen, and it was comical watching them try to stay in front of Curry.  He was just too quick.

In the first preseason game against the Patriots, Curry displayed that very same ability I noted at the Senior Bowl. Curry played 25 snaps against New England, and he made more than his share of plays, as he often dominated the Pats' interior offensive linemen with his impressive quick first step. I'll highlight 7 of those plays.

Play 1

Here's Curry's first step in action. QB Ryan Mallett is barely turning to carry out his play fake, and Curry already has the upper hand on the RG:

Curry beats the RG with quick quickness... easily... and is in the backfield before Mallett carries out his fake:

Mallett fakes a handoff to the back, and Curry forces a throwaway while also getting a QB knockdown:

Play 2

Here's Curry rushing from the right side. Note once again that quick first step:

He sheds the block with a powerful shove:

And forces the RB to cut back inside.

Play 3

Here Curry is going to take an outside rush, with Brandon Graham looping in behind him to the inside:

Curry gets such a good jump at the snap that he forces the RG and RT to double him: That creates a big lane for Graham to run through:

Graham comes completely free:

And he gets a shot in on the QB, who throws an incomplete pass:

Play 4

More of the same. Curry gets a great first step:

This forces their RG and RT to double him, while the center also looks on. The Eagles get their LDE a 1-on-1 opportunity with a TE, the other DT gets a 1-on-1 with the LG, and the RDE gets a 1-on-1 with the LT.

Play 5

Here's another pass rush (Curry is in the middle of the screenshot). The RG is holding on for dear life (holding not called):

But Curry gets free anyway and gets in a shot on the QB as he throws incomplete:

Play 6

Here's that first step again. Look at Curry in comparison to the rest of the Eagles defensive linemen:

Curry is not attacking the A gap here, and yet the center comes over to help out his RG to double on Curry anyway. This leaves 1-on-1 matchups across the board for the rest of the Eagles pass rushers:

Play 7

But can Curry rush from the outside? Glad you asked. Hell yes he can. Here he is getting a great first step on the outside:

The RT over-commits to the outside, so Vinny cuts inside:

He gets free:

And Tebow is meat.

There were times in which Curry was lined up along the interior DL and he got doubled in the run game. In those situations, he had difficulty anchoring against the run. That's understandable, and it's probably best for the Eagles to try to keep him out of those situations whenever they can.

However, it seems pretty clear that Vinny Curry absolutely has a role in this defense as an interior pass rusher, and he can be a very effective one.

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