Curry, Allen await their former Eagle teammates

by Gary Shelton on September 13, 2018 · 4 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Vinny Curry celebrates his sack of Drew Brees./CARMEN MANDATO

Thursday, 2 a..m.

The defense of the Tampa Bay Bucs, it seems, would have something to prove.

Namely, they have to prove they can stay out of the way of their offense.

And so it goes. The Bucs scored 48 points Sunday (counting a defensive turnover), but the defense allowed 40. The Bucs gained 529 ... but gave up 475. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had a rating of 156.2. But the Saints' Drew Brees had a rating of 129.5.

And there you have it. For everything wonderful the offense did, the defense was just hanging on.

This week, against the World Champion Philadelphia Eagles, the defense tries again.

And it will be especially memorable for a pair of former Eagles.

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Defensive end Vinny Curry and defensive tackle Beau Allen will face their former teammates Sunday and try to remind them that they were a part of that championship team.

“It’s a work week," Allen said. "It’s a business week. It’s always strange when you play guys that you know and you’re familiar with, but that’s just the nature of the NFL. It’s definitely not chummy this week. We’ve got a football game to play and I really want to beat them.”

To do that, Curry and Allen have to contribute to a pass rush to try to pressure starter Nick Foles.

“I’m pretty sure they’re going to switch some things up," Curry said. "I’m pretty sure they’re going to try to attack me or attack Beau in some type of way because you’ve been there for so many years and your whole career, so they know your tendencies as well — just as much as you know theirs. At the end of the day, it’s their whole offense. Not just one player. At the end of the day, you can’t get outside yourself – Coach (Mike) Smith has a great game plan and today we’re just going to work on it.”

Curry and Allen were part of a free-agent class designed to help reinvent the front four. Curry had a sack against the Saints, but the line didn't pressure Brees.

"I want to make it out Sunday because of those guys," said defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. "Coming from a different team, and they let you go, I know (Vinny and Beau) probably have a chip on their shoulders. I would have a chip on my shoulder, so I can’t wait to play the Giants – that’s a whole (different) day. If I was those guys, I’d have a chip on my shoulder. You let me go – I’m going out there to show you should’ve never let me go. When I come out there, I want to hear my name on the intercom as much as possible. That’s how I’ll be feeling.”

Defensive coordinator Mike Smith said the defense wasn't as bad as you might think.

"When you have your first game of the season, you usually have a lot of work to do," Smith said. "Not all the time, but the majority of the time. I thought that there were periods in that game where we played solid defense. We did some things very well in terms of taking the ball away, scoring on defense and defending the run. It’s always a difficult situation — it’s a great situation to be in when you’re up by three scores or more, but it’s also very difficult to call a game in those situations.”

Smith said there were positives.

“We played hard and we were resilient," said Smith. "Taking the ball away in the NFL is the number one indicator of whether you’re going to win or lose. That was huge for us. Scoring on defense as I mentioned — when you score on defense, there’s a good chance you’re going to get the outcome that you’re looking for. The other parts of that game that we’ve got to get improved on were very obvious. We did not cover well, we weren’t consistent with our pass rush, we weren’t consistent with our pass rush schemes. Those are all areas that we can improve. I will state that I thought our guys, for the situation that they were put into, handled it pretty well. I want to say before anyone even asks about Carlton (Davis) it was planned that we were going to get Carlton out at some point in time early in the game — let him catch his breath. This is a rookie player that was playing in a very different environment, so the plan was to get him out — let him sit and regroup and get him back in there. I thought he did a decent job. That’s a tough quarterback to play your first NFL football game against.”

Head coach Dirk Koetter said the two former Eagles have been a help.

“A little bit," Koetter said. "Two intelligent guys. I’ve told you guys this before — players that played for a team previous you’ve got to somewhat take it with a grain of salt. You’ve got to trust what you see on the tape with your own eyes, but I’ve asked both of those guys plenty of questions and they’ve given me some answers. Is that going to be the difference in the game? Probably not.”

Koetter said Allen helps solidify the line.

“That’s what his specialty is," Koetter said. "He’s a tough run-stopper in the middle of the field — a guy that can push the pocket. He brings attitude, he brings energy, he brings a winning mentality. He’s a fantastic guy to build your team from the inside out and we were hoping to combine Beau with some other guys on the inside — that hasn’t come to fruition at this point. Once again, when we started off talking about the injuries, that is what it is. You’re never going to hear me crying about that. It’s just unfortunate. I feel horrible for the individual players — even player on other teams. We just got to keep moving in the NFL, that’s all you can do.”

Said Curry:  “Beau is the most knowledgeable person or teammate that you could possibly have on a roster. What he brings to the table, to our room, to our whole entire defense is beyond. I honestly think Beau’s going to be a coach or a GM someday

“We just got to match the intensity. We got to stop the run, match the intensity because they play with a lot of emotion and thy play fast. We just got to match the intensity and stop the run.”

Foles, the MVP of last year's Super Bowl, presents a challenge.

“I think Nick can do a lot of different stuff," Allen said. "He’s a smart football player. I think he knows what his strengths are. He’s got some awareness in the pocket. He can get out and run and throw on the run and stuff like that, but he does a good job of avoiding pressure within the pocket and keeping his eyes downfield. He’s got a lot of confidence when he makes throws. It kind of seems like once he makes one good throw then they keep coming. I think he’s a good quarterback.” 

Gerald McCoy says Foles will be difficult to play.

“MVP, that’s what I call him," McCoy said. "He always laughs when I call him that. I think he was the Pro Bowl MVP when he went and Super Bowl MVP, so the name is warranted. He’s a great player. He doesn’t do more than he’s asked to do, great leader and just a great guy overall. He leads the team well. [He’s] different from (Carson) Wentz, but he can move around too so you can’t think that he’s just going to sit back there and be a tackling dummy. He’s going to move around, make some plays and we just got to weather the storm and make sure we hit back when they hit us.”

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Carlos Ubinas September 13, 2018 at 7:04 pm

In the last 2 Eagles games vs Atlanta, Matt Ryan had a low QB rating and Julio Jones about 100 yds in each game. If the Bucs offense is as good as the Falcons’, there’s not too much hope. Then again, I “predicted” the Bucs outcome last week, I had the Saints winning 35-7, so what do I know?

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Gary Shelton September 14, 2018 at 8:27 am

None of us have a crystal ball. I picked the Saints, too. Who wouldn’t?

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BILL MYERS September 13, 2018 at 8:40 am

This game should be a test of who the Bucs really are! The home opener for the Saints did not go too well! I just hope our Bucs take note of that and are ready for a tough Eagles team! The defense has to have a strong game! GO BUCS!

Reply

Gary Shelton September 13, 2018 at 3:02 pm

The Bucs can play well and still lose, of course. But I’d love to see the defense play better and the office retain some of what it showed.

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