Olivier Vernon hasn’t played yet this season due to the preseason high ankle sprain he suffered. The New York Giants linebacker practiced twice last week and has practiced this week. What does he need to show if he is to play Sunday against the Carolina Panthers?
“Prove to myself is the number one priority, but then also showing them [coaches] that I’m capable of making certain plays that you don’t want to be a liability out there,” Vernon said. “It’s just basically showing the coaches you’re capable of making the cuts when you have to or inside stunts and stuff like that.”
Defensive tackle Damon Harrison said Thursday that getting Vernon back would mean “everything” to the defense.
“That’s the terminator. OV can do it all. Can provide some much needed pass rush, as well as be strong on the edges,” Harrison said. “I think that’s not a discredit to the other guys. OV is just a different animal.”
Mike Shula’s take on the struggling offense
On Odell Beckham Jr. not having any touchdowns yet:
“I think that just comes in a natural play of the game. I don’t think if we try to start forcing the ball to get anybody touchdowns, I think you run into some risky business, so to speak. I think that he’s very talented. He’s going to get the ball. He’s going to get us in the end zone. He’s going to get in the end zone. More importantly, we need to score more, however we do it. Whether or not it’s Odell, or (RB) Saquon (Barkley), whoever it is. We just need to get down there number one, and finish drives. It’s all about scoring points.”
On why Eli Manning’s high rate of completions hasn’t led to more points:
“I think that we’re close. It hasn’t been good enough yet. I know coach has mentioned this, too, I know Eli has mentioned it, we’ve had some plays that have set us back penalty wise, or a negative play that has maybe been one of the reasons why we’ve stalled the drives. The completion percentage is big. Obviously, you want the ball caught every time and thrown to the right guy. A quarterback’s job is to do three things: throw it to the right guy, get the ball there on time, and get the ball there accurately. Whether or not that guy is 20 yards down the field or five yards down the field, just keep the chains moving forward, and then we feel like if we do that and stay on the field, with our athletes, we’re going to get the ball in the end zone.”
Ray-Ray Armstrong emerging
Armstrong, in theory a backup inside linebacker has played 151 snaps thus far while starter B.J. Goodson has played only 101.
“One of the things with Ray-Ray is, I love the ability and flexibility that guys have as whether they can come cover back, whether they can blitz off the edge, whether they can cover in space. I think the way the game has changed is we’ve all seen a change over the last few years, is the game has become so horizontal, so spread out, that you have to be able to do those things in space and I think Ray-Ray is getting an opportunity to play right now,” said defensive coordinator James Bettcher. “For B.J., he’s just got to keep playing, keep working. I love his mindset, I love his work ethic, (he’s a) physical guy. We’re not down on B.J., I think Ray-Ray has played a little bit better to this point, and he’s going to continue to get his chances.”
‘Snacks:’ Defense needs an identity
Harrison isn’t yet sure what the Giants are on defense.
“I’m still trying to figure out what we are on defense. I think we somewhat have established our identity as a team. A tough unit, a physical unit, but we just don’t complete ballgames in it’s entirety. I think that’s just something we have to work on.”
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