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Vernon helps lay groundwork for long-term defensive success


In Olivier Vernon's first season with the Giants, the defense consistently performed at a high level and appears built for long-term success:

The Giants' season ended earlier than they desired, but for new defensive end Olivier Vernon, it was certainly something to build on.

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"The overall experience was great, phenomenal actually," Vernon said. "I wish things could've been a little different in the end, but it's a work in progress."

Vernon, who played his first four seasons with the Dolphins, was tremendous for Big Blue, stepping in and making an immediate impact after signing as a free agent over the offseason.

"[It was the] first year for a lot of guys coming to this team and proving a lot of people differently on what expectations they had for us," Vernon said. "We're just looking forward to building on what we have."

Vernon helped lead a defensive front that allowed just 88.6 rushing yards per game, tied with New England for third in the NFL. He also contributed 8.5 sacks and caused havoc for opposing quarterbacks all season long.

Although his numbers were superb, Vernon's goal was simple.

"I just came to contribute," he said. "I felt like every time on the field I left it all out there. I feel like a lot of guys that play this game, especially for the Giants, did the same thing. We can only build off of it and hope for the best in 2017."

Vernon's contributions led to him being named second-team All-Pro by the Associated Press.

"Honestly, I'm very appreciative of getting the recognition," Vernon said. "Now it's time to get back to work."

Although the recognition speaks volumes, Vernon is still not satisfied and feels that the Giants have something to prove in 2017.

"I think what we have to prove is being competitors in the postseason," he said. "We just have to build up to that and take it again one week at a time. Just build from there."

For a newcomer, it is never easy to fit right in, but the defensive bond allowed Vernon to excel and everything was able to come together.

"We had a lot of great guys on this team," he said. "It's easy to find the love and this chemistry, just coming along and doing some things that people didn't think we could do. It's just better that we found the foundation."

They certainly did.

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