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Early Birds: Jeremy Maclin on whether the Eagles miss DeSean Jackson, Vinny Curry's production/playing time, nickel vs. dime

1) Jeremy Maclin heard that Richard Sherman said the Eagles miss DeSean Jackson "tremendously." This is not the first time that opinion has been voiced, although it came from the mouth of the NFL's best cornerback who had just help limit the Eagles to fewer than 100 passing yards.

Maclin disagreed with Sherman and pledged confidence in the receivers on the Eagles' roster.

"Once again, [Jackson is] a tremendous talent, but guys in that room have done a tremendous job all year," Maclin said. "No disrespect to him, but we're just fine."

Maclin has 74 catches for 1,109 yards and 10 touchdowns, and could make his first Pro Bowl this season.

Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur actually referenced Jackson when discussing the explosive plays last season. Shurmur said Maclin, Riley Cooper, and Jordan Matthews can all make plays downfield. He does not believe the Eagles miss Jackson, who has more 40+ catches than any player in the NFL this season.

"We are really comfortable with the guys we have," Shurmur said. "They are out there competing and fighting. And if we want to talk specifically about the last game, nobody played well enough and nobody coached well enough to win it, and we saw the results."

2) Vinny Curry has eight sacks this season, and it could have been 10 sacks if not for penalties that negated his quarterback takedowns. Curry has played only 33 percent of the defensive snaps.

Don't expect the sack total to lead to increased playing time, though. The reason is understandable: The Eagles like Curry in the role he situational role he plays, and think the production is a byproduct of that role.

"I think we have got a great role for Vinny right now and adds to his success and I also think he's getting better at the two‑gap, first and second down stuff," defensive coordinator Bill Davis said. " We're really happy with his progress. He's always been a dynamic pass rusher and that's a role we choose to use him in the most."

When reporters asked about his role on Tuesday, Curry wasn't complaining. The sack total is there, so there's reason to be happy. Curry's goal entering the season was 10 sacks. Penalties kept him from reaching that number in 13 games, but he has three more games to get two sacks and hit that mark.

3) Since DeMeco Ryans' injury, the Eagles appear to be using the dime formation more than the nickel formation. That makes sense, too, considering the inside linebacker depth chart is not as deep without Ryans. But Davis said the Eagles can still use the nickel, and they've tried sprinkling it in recent weeks. Of course, Casey Matthews' strength is not pass coverage, so there is risk in that formation.

"I don't believe I don't have to go to nickel," Davis said. "Just in the passing situations, our dime package has really grown to where we like dime better than nickel, when it's a 50/50 mode, then we go to nickel, and if it's a little bit more run tendency we stay in our base."

Davis also said that decision is independent of Ryans' injury. In fact, he said the Eagles would still be playing mostly dime and base even with a healthy Ryans.