Written by Matthew Cannata
In 2012, Olivier Vernon was drafted in the third round but saw limited playing time during his rookie campaign. A year later, he racked up 11.5 sacks (7th best in the NFL) and was a force to deal with on the defensive line. However, the only ones surprised were the people not in the facility on a daily basis. Alain Poupart of MiamiDolphins.com has taken a look at Vernon and how he has worked to get even better than he was during his breakout season in 2013.
“With me, I always have high confidence in myself,” Vernon said. “That’s how you play the game. You play the game with confidence. You need to have a lot of confidence when you’re out there on that field. Even my rookie year I had a lot of confidence out there. I just didn’t play as much as I expected to, but that’s how it is as a rookie.
Now that everyone knows who Vernon is, he understands he needs to work even harder.
“Coming into this season, I’ve just got to elevate my game, got to get better than I was last year on certain things. I’m looking forward to it. I wish the season was next month.”
Defensive Coordinator Kevin Coyle doesn’t think he has to worry about Vernon getting complacent and knows that he will continue to work hard.
“The great thing about OV when you watch the tape, you’re hard-pressed to find guys that run to the football consistently like he does,” defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said. “He’s a great effort player, he’s a team player, he has become a lot more disciplined. His rookie season, there was always that occasional one or two plays a game where he might have not cut a line correctly or missed an opportunity on something, but last year he was on point. He’s got a chance to develop into a dynamic player.”
Vernon’s continued development will be something to keep your eyes on this season. If he can do just as good as he did in 2013, the Dolphins might end up having the best defensive line in the NFL, especially with all-pro Cameron Wake on the opposite side.