While there’s been much talk about Ryan Tannehill, Lamar Miller and Jonathan Martin this offseason, one second year player who shouldn’t be forgotten is defensive end Olivier Vernon. As a rookie in 2012, Vernon contributed 32 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and numerous big plays for the Dolphins’ special teams, including scoring a touchdown on a blocked punt in the October win over the Jets. Recently, Vernon sat down with The Finsiders to discuss his mindset heading into 2013 as well as the attitude of the team during the offseason program.
(On the energy and confidence surrounding the team right now)- I’d say the energy is pretty high. The camaraderie is high, everybody’s positive and it’s a good group of guys we have around. Everybody jells and meshes pretty well, and I feel like other teams aren’t how we are right here and the coaching staff treat us well. I feel like everybody on the team is glad to have that kind of coaching staff around, to have the type of players we have around us, and we just have really good team management.
(On how the readiness to get out and practice right away is a direct result on how last year ended)- Yeah. Just the other day we looked at a few games that we just left out there. We let a lot of teams off the hook that other people don’t realize. We just beat ourselves. So as long as we can fix that and not beat ourselves, the sky’s the limit for us.
(On how it feels being back on the practice field with this being his second year instead of his first year)- You know the biggest difference is that you know what to expect and you know what the coaches look for. I got one year down on my belt now so now its room for improvement that I just have to do.
(On what the point of emphasis is from Coach Coyle so far this year)- The main focus pretty much is turnovers. I mean we had a lot of sacks as a D-line and as a defense but no forced fumbles. That’s what he tries to preach. The more forced fumbles you get, the more you intercept the ball and keep your hands on the ball or just creating turnovers, the more games you can win.
(On what’s his biggest goal this offseason)- I would say getting a better pass rush, working on more moves to add to my game, and staying healthy.
(On what he thinks about the changes on defense, and the increase in team speed)- I think the team overall probably got a bit younger. We got a lot of young guys especially on defense, and looking at those guys today in practice, we move quick sideline to sideline. So I think that’s what the coaches expected and that’s what they want on the defense. I just can’t wait man.
(On how excited he is to watch fellow University of Miami product Lamar Miller progress at this level) – I’m happy for him man. I already know what he’s going to do, it’s just other people on the outside that don’t. He’s going to really open some eyes and exceed expectations.
(On the influx of Florida Gators coming into the locker room, and if he messes around with those guys coming from a college rival)- No not really. Honestly, all my years at UM we never played the Gators. If there were some Florida St. guys maybe there would be a little talk.
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