Thursday, July 17, 2014

Vernon looking to elevate game with fundamentals


The Miami Dolphins used a high draft pick in 2013 on a dynamic pass-rushing prospect to start opposite All-Pro defensive end Cameron Wake.

That pick, athletic defensive end Dion Jordan, appears headed in the wrong direction after playing sparingly in his first season and being hit with a suspension for the first four games of this one, but another of Miami's young linemen may be blossoming into the impact player the team is looking for.

Defensive end Olivier Vernon carved out a prominent role on the defense last season and is looking to keep building on the progress he's made since being drafted in 2012.

“Coming into this season, I’ve just got to elevate my game, got to get better than I was last year on certain things," Vernon recently told the Finsiders.

“My hard work was paying off and it was showing out there on the field," he continued. "Pretty much during the offseason I was just working on all my fundamentals and getting everything complete as far as my hand technique and stopping the run. As soon as the season started and the results started coming in I was kind of excited about it.”

Vernon's 11.5-sack 2013 campaign put the former third round pick on the map, and on the radar of opposing offensive coordinators.

Accustomed to benefiting from the extra attention given to Wake, the former Miami Hurricane and Miami-area native is likely to see more added blockers to his side in the future.

“I hope not,” Vernon said jokingly. “It’s all about making your name known out there. Everybody wants to build that respect. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

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