PHILADELPHIA ( — Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham are the stars, Tim Jernigan is the final piece to the puzzle who just got the huge extension, and Derek Barnett is the promising rookie who figures to be the star in the coming seasons.

The Eagles' defensive line is loaded and perhaps the NFL's best, the self-described engine of Jim Schwartz's defense and a group which essentially embarrassed a limited Chicago Bears team last Sunday as Philadelphia improved to an NFL-best 10-1.

Despite that Schwartz is not quite ready to admit the obvious: these guys are really good.

"I guess so far, so good, but we still have a long way to go," the Eagles' DC said when asked about how his front has played. "We need to stay on that track. There are always things we can do better. ... We'll reserve the pats on the back until after the season is over."

At that time one of the pats will no doubt be set aside for Vinny Curry, one of the least talked about members of the group but a player who has turned into a meaningful contributor after suffering through a disappointing, injury-plagued 2016 season.

“He's had a tremendous year for us,” Schwartz said. "... He has done his job and I think that’s the greatest compliment I can give a player.”

Curry's job these days essentially what it's always been, a part-time player but this time around he's the starter at right defensive end and not just a pass rusher. In fact, he and Jernigan usually come out in obvious pass-rushing situation with Schwartz kicking Graham inside and inserting Chris Long and Barnett at the end positions.

The result has been a more well-rounded Curry, who has been a significant part of the team's No. 1 ranked run defense.

Through 11 games Curry is playing 54 percent of the team's defensive snaps and already has a career-high 34 tackles, nine of them for a loss, also a career-best.

"My goal is to get the 'W," Curry explained, "and then the second goal is that when you turn the tape on you are going to see 75 flashing."

Flash he did against the Bears as he and his high-profile teammates held Chicago's talented running backs to minus-six yards rushing.

“He has played with power," Schwartz said. "He has played the run extremely well."

And he's also not afraid to admit what Schwartz is punting on.

"I would say so," Curry said when asked if this is the best defensive line he has played on. "My rookie year [2012] that D-line was sick but mature wise, from my standpoint, being in the league, having some experience, I would definitely say [this is the best group]."

-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for You can reach him at or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

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