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Olivier Vernon is a creature of habit


*DE Olivier Vernon discussed his offseason training as he returned to practice Tuesday: *

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Olivier Vernon is a model teammate during the football season, but from February until the opening of training camp, he prefers to be a workout loner.

The Giants' defensive end did not participate in the team's offseason conditioning program and organized team activities. It's a regimen he followed during his four seasons with the Miami Dolphins and when he joined the Giants last year. And after leading the team with 8.5 sacks and being named a second-team All-Pro, Vernon wasn't about to alter his routine.

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"I just wanted to stick to it," Vernon said. "If it isn't broke, then I'm not fixing it.

"I never thought I was going to be on a different team, so I had the luxury of being in Miami, where I was from, and being around people that I've known and just being close to home. So, now it's a little different, but it's me and my personal preference."

Vernon rejoined his teammates yesterday, and was on the field today for the start of the Giants' mandatory three-day minicamp.

"It's a great opportunity to come back with the team and get better, work with them and keep things moving forward," Vernon said.

During his absence, Vernon spoke with defensive line coach Patrick Graham, "every day, keeping me up to date with what was going on."

But he concedes he did miss some learning by not being here.

"There's probably going to be tweaks here and there," Vernon said. "You can't come into the season with the same stuff, so it's just something that I've been working on while I was down in Miami. (I was) keeping up to date with the coaches, but right now it's just getting on the field and building from there."

The Giants' offseason acquisitions, including wide receiver Brandon Marshall, tight end Rhett Ellison and the top two draft choices, tight end Evan Engram and defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, did not go unnoticed by Vernon in Florida.

"On paper, (the team) looks good," Vernon said. "But as far as what I see, as far as the leadership, guys being more vocal. Which we had vocal guys last year, but just adding to it. We've got a lot of potential, but once again, you've still got to prove yourself when you get on the field. I feel like this team is ready to prove (itself)."

*Defensive end Owa Odighizuwa is the only player not in attendance. Coach Ben McAdoo said the third-year pro is "excused for personal reasons."

*Two second-year pros – cornerback Eli Apple and safety Darian Thompson – did not practice because of illness.

*Guard Justin Pugh is limited with an unspecified injury.

*The big news today was the arrival of Odell Beckham, Jr., but McAdoo was quick to praise another wide receiver, second-year pro Sterling Shepard, when McAdoo was asked about the benefit of having his entire group of skill players together.

"Sterling Shepard had a nice day today," McAdoo said. "I think he went out and had a strong first day in camp, he really showed up well inside. Made a lot of plays, so it's good to have everyone out here working."

*Quarterback Geno Smith, who tore his right ACL playing last season for the Jets, continues to increase his workload.

"He's progressing," McAdoo said. "We braced him up today. We put him out there, we had him do 7-on-7s with the half-line rush just to get some work against the rush. So if he has to move and has to reset in the pocket, he has some experience doing that before we come back in training camp. It'll boost his confidence and I thought he had a good first day of it."

*With Beckham, Shepard, Marshall and Engram, Eli Manning might throw to the most skilled collection of receivers he has had in his 14 seasons.

"There is a lot of talented players," Manning said. "You see some young guys and you need some young guys to step up, and we've added some veteran guys and some of the other guys who have been here a couple of years. So, in the skill positions, we have some talented guys, so it is a matter of making plays on game day, being in the right position, getting them the ball, and letting them make plays."

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