In order to improve a defense that struggled last season, the Giants signed defensive end Olivier Vernon to an $85 million deal. Vernon, who amassed 29 sacks and 137 tackles in four seasons with Miami, is finding his place in Steve Spagnuolo’s defense. Vernon spoke after New York’s 17-9 win over New England in the preseason finale.
NY Sports Day: How confident are you in the defense going into the season?
Olivier Vernon: We got a lot of great talent. We got a lot of great talent on this team, especially the new guys. It’s my first year around, pretty much starting off fresh, especially with these guys are making it a whole lot easier. It’s a big time rival game. The Cowboys, they got a lot of weapons. Tony Romo’s out but they still got something that they’re working with. So that’s not a team to take lightly and we just gotta focus on the task up ahead.
NYSD: How good do you feel about your own game individually?
OV: Man, honestly just making sure everybody is out there making fun, having fun. That’s the main thing. Main thing, everybody’s just having fun and it’s a game at the end of the day. It’s a game and as long as all these boys are making plays and contributing, that’s all that matters.
NYSD: How different, not to give away state secrets or anything, but how different is this from Miami?
OV: Spags been there. Spags knows what he’s doing, and not trying to discredit anybody but he has his own philosophy, and his philosophy is hard-nosed so you gotta a lot of guys that could fit his philosophy and we’re gonna go and see from there.
NYSD: Did it take time to buy into anything or that came pretty easily for you?
OV: For the most part it was more smooth transition. Just how they operate over here. Time man, you know, some of the calls and some of the sayings is different terminology. That’s the biggest thing when playing, going to another team. Just different terminology. So once you get that down pat, you just gotta keep rumbling. Still football, still got things that you’ve had. Thank God I know a little bit more than I did my rookie year. But playing with these guys, they make it a whole bunch easier. There’s a lot of communication in our defense. Linebackers are talking and secondary’s talking and gotta get the d-line going. We got a great d-line and a lot of these boys, they’re hungry right now.
NYSD: How long did it take to learn the playbook?
OV: It took awhile. You know, that’s just part of the game. This is a job. This is a job so you have to take care of business.
NYSD: How much did you want to be out there and go after Brady?
OV: Man. So bad. So bad. But I told him, hopefully we’ll see each other again.