Giants expect Olivier Vernon to make smooth transition to new defense

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The Giants traded away one of last year’s starting defensive ends when they shipped Jason Pierre-Paul to the Buccaneers last month, but the plan is for the other starter to make the move to outside linebacker in the system being installed by new defensive coordinator James Bettcher.

Olivier Vernon‘s ability to make that transition was a topic of conversation for Bettcher on Wednesday and he expressed little concern that it would be anything but a smooth one. Bettcher pointed to his days in Arizona as a guide for what he expects to see from Vernon once the new look is in place.

Betcher noted that players like Chandler Jones, Markus Golden and Dwight Freeney have all been productive in his system and mentioned Jones again when discussing how Vernon will fit.

“His versatility, his ability to rush the quarterback from different angles, his ability that we’ve all seen in dropping in coverage and swiveling his hips, and doing all of those things, if you went and looked at our tape in Arizona and saw Chandler Jones, we didn’t make our money on defense with Chandler Jones dropping into space and playing in coverage a bunch,” Bettcher said, via “You can throw great changeups. There are things you can do to change things up that allow you to attack offenses in different ways. I think that’s how he’ll fit in.”

Jones had 28 sacks over the last two years in Arizona and that kind of production would mark a big jump for Vernon after 44 sacks in his first six seasons. Whatever his sack numbers, Giants linebackers coach Bill McGovern said the team will be “looking to get him on the field and let his talents kind of take over” in a way that leads to better results than they enjoyed last year.