Olivier Vernon is a Miami guy through and through. He grew up there, went to college there at The U, played the first four years of his NFL career there for the Dolphins. He even said he liked those funky orange uniforms his former team wore on Thursday night.
Which may be why he is so fascinated by the weather here in the New York area. He said, without a hint of joking, that one of the reasons he signed with the Giants this offseason was to be able to experience snow.
So when he was asked about the team’s biggest defensive deficiency this season – a lack of takeaways - of course he turned to a meteorological metaphor.
“It’s just like the weather up here, man,” he said on Friday. “It’s cold and then it’s hot. I’m trying to get used to it. But it comes and it goes. Right now we’re just trying to make it come.”
The Giants are one of two teams in the NFL without an interception, one of six teams without a fumble recovery (on defense, at least, after picking up a muffed punt against Washington), and the only defense in the league without a takeaway of any kind.
When it rains it pours, to stay with Vernon’s way of thinking, but right now the Giants are in a big-time drought. Historic, even. The last time the Giants opened a season with three straight games without intercepting a pass was 1934.
“We haven’t done anything different than we did a year ago and a year ago at this time we had [five],” defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said. “That was pretty good. I’m really shocked that we don’t have any right now, I really am.”
Spagnuolo pointed out that there haven’t even been many missed opportunities for them. Janoris Jenkins came close to an interception, but there aren’t many others that jump out as lost chances. Teams have fumbled twice but recovered both.
“You have to be patient,” Spagnuolo said. “If you force that, then you start missing tackles and you put your eyes where they’re not supposed to be. We’ll play good, sound football, rely on ‘relentless,’ and hopefully those will come. Because we need them.”