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Olivier Vernon Loves B.J. Goodson’s Physicality

Vernon spoke to the media and gave his vote of confidence to some of the Giants’ younger players

NFL: New York Giants-Minicamp William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

When the New York Giants signed free agent defensive end to a hefty contract in the 2016 off-season, they got more than a guy to help their anemic pass rush.

As it turned out, they got a highly dedicated and driven player who has consistently pushed himself beyond what even his coaches ask. When the Giants needed their defense to step up and close out games, Vernon never came off the field. And that was despite playing with an injured hand and the most snaps of any defensive lineman in the league.

The Giants got a 25-year old who was already one of the most well-rounded defensive ends in the league and quickly became one of the quiet leaders on a resurgent defense. So while he isn’t an outspoken player, when Vernon speaks, it is generally worthwhile to listen.

On B.J. Goodson

The Giants have just one linebacker under contract after the 2017 season, B.J. Goodson, the second year player out of Clemson. There is a mixture of excitement and trepidation as he looks to assume the starting middle linebacker job in Steve Spagnuolo’s complex defense.

Goodson has generally garnered positive reviews so far in camp, and Vernon added his vote of confidence.

“BJ is stepping into his role and he’s doing a phenomenal job,” Vernon said. “As far as being out there and trying to step into those shoes and calling all the plays, we’re trying to get everything blended together and have all the communication down pat.”

Between players like Vernon, Damon Harrison, and Landon Collins, the Giants’ defense was one of the league’s most physical in 2016. The promotion of Goodson to the starting line-up only looks to add another physical presence to the defense. As Dan Pizzuta noted in his practice report, Goodson has consistently been one of the most physical — if not the most physical — players in camp.

Vernon said, “Oh yeah. You know BJ, he’s flying around, he’s moving. If he’s not on special teams, coming straight off special teams, coming to the periods and he’s full go. You know, we all see that. And, he’s hungry. So, we like that.”

“Yeah,” Vernon added, “he’s been hungry for a while and he’s coming in and trying to take that role. He’s going to be physical, that’s what we like. To be a part of this defense, you’ve got to be physical.”

On Ereck Flowers

Many have said that the Giants will only go as far as their offensive line will allow, and Vernon has experience going up against the best left tackles in the league. So it’s only natural that reporters were eager for his take on the progression of Giants’ left tackle Ereck Flowers

“As far as his hands,” Vernon said, “his hands are getting better. As far as technique, he’s improved a whole lot, I’ll say that. I know with Flowers, he’s always working on his technique and asking questions about what he’s doing wrong or what he’s doing good on. So, that tells me he’s somebody just trying to get better.”

Obviously Vernon can’t speak as to what is being said and done in the offensive line’s meeting room, but he says that Flowers is coming to him for advice as well as his coaches.

Vernon said, “Yeah, we talk all the time. He’s asking what, as far as what techniques, as far as what he can give you. Anything to help each other get better.”

On To Dallas

At the end of the day, training camp has one objective: To prepare the team to play in the regular season. And Vernon is focused on week one of the 2017 season.

“You always want to improve,” Vernon said. “You always want to improve on what you did last year and the year before that. Our mindset is right now, everything we did last year, that’s last year. We built a good enough foundation right now that we just keep climbing and keep focusing on the task at hand – September 10th against Dallas.”