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Giants Olivier Vernon comments on change from DE to LB

The veteran pass rusher will change positions under new defensive coordinator James Bettcher.
Olivier Vernon. (Photo: Getty Images)

Other than maybe being the biggest guy in the meeting room, not much will change for New York Giants pass rusher Olivier Vernon. He may be a linebacker now in terms of technical designation but he expects his role and purpose to be the same: Get after the quarterback.

In the switch to first-year defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s 3-4 defense, Vernon now will be playing as an outside linebacker. Things won’t change too much for Vernon in this role, even though he will now be playing while standing up. The Giants had utilized a 4-3 with Vernon as a defensive end the past two years under previous defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

It is a role, Vernon said on Tuesday, that he is familiar with. He often played standing up while with the Miami Dolphins prior to joining the Giants in free agency two years ago.

For motivation, Vernon need look no further than what Bettcher did in his last stop prior to the Giants. Vernon’s responsibilities will look similar to what Chandler Jones did under Bettcher’s watch since 2015 in Arizona.

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“Yeah, I mean he was still rushing a whole lot. I think he led the league in sacks last year,” Vernon said. “So, he was still down there rushing and getting after the quarterback and when it came down to the schemes and stuff like that, using him and dropping him and stuff like that. So, we’ve just got to see.”

The 28-year old Jones had 17 sacks last year. In the last three years since Bettcher was appointed defensive coordinator in Arizona, Jones has combined for 40.5 sacks.

That certainly is sound production.

“I mean, we’re two different players. Chandler Jones is his own player, I’m my own player. He had a great season last year and that just happens,” Vernon said. “He was doing what he had to do, they had a great defense and right now, we’re just trying to get everything down pat, chemistry as well. And we’ll see from there.”

Vernon said his offseason training and workouts haven’t changed much with the tweak to how he will line-up. He joked that the biggest change involves being in a different meeting room after having been with the defensive line the past two seasons.