Olivier Vernon is set to make his season debut Thursday against the Eagles. After missing the first five games of the season with a high ankle sprain suffered in one of the last practices of the preseason, Vernon is not on the injury report for the Giants as they head into this crucial game against the Eagles.
Because Vernon has been out for such a long time, and because he’s been close to returning in the past few weeks but did not, it can be easy to forget just how productive and effective he was looking in the preseason before the injury. The move from 4-3 defensive end to 3-4 linebacker seemed to suit him well.
“Everything you saw in the preseason, that’s gospel,” teammate Damon Harrison said. “And that’s what we expect to see when we get him back. We’re all excited. I haven’t stopped talking about it yet. I missed him.”
Harrison calls Vernon “The Terminator.”
“OV can do it all,” Harrison said. “He can provide some much-needed pass rush as well as be strong on the edges. That’s not a discredit to the other guys. OV is just a different animal.”
He should help a pass rush that has produced a league-low six sacks.
How much Vernon plays remains to be seen, but Pat Shurmur suggested that there is no halfway when it comes to being ready to play. Especially not in a game of this magnitude.
“Burn the ships,” Shurmur said. “If they get a jersey, they’re going to play. Then we manage it and keep track of it, but not necessarily a pitch count. Games play out differently, and so if you’re up, we expect that you can take a full load. If during the game there’s places where we’ve got to give guys a break, we do so.”
The injury news wasn't all glowing for the Giants. They will play their third game without tight end Evan Engram (knee), who returned to practice this week. They also ruled out wide receiver Russell Shepard (neck). Tight end Rhett Ellison (quad) is questionable.
As for kicker, Aldrick Rosas (quad) was limited in Wednesday’s practice and has no injury designation, so it appears he will play. The Giants have until 4 p.m. on Thursday to make a call on that. If Rosas is not ready, they will promote Marshall Koehn from their practice squad at that point.