Cleveland Browns DE Olivier Vernon is looking to have resurgent 2020
Vernon had 3.5 sacks, which tied a career-low that dates back to his rookie year with the Miami Dolphins in 2012. For context, he did not start then, but has been a starter since with Miami, then the New York Giants and the Browns.
To be clear, Vernon has been a productive player in his career, and has had 353 tackles, 54.5 sacks and 141 quarterback hits. The last two seasons, though, he’s been banged up, because of a nagging ankle injury with New York in 2018, and with the Browns in 2019, a knee injury hampered him. Due to that latter ailment, Vernon missed six games with Cleveland, and he didn’t have the overall season he would’ve hoped for.
Even while that was the case, Vernon, when healthy, was affecting plays consistently while winning in his matchups, and throughout his career, Vernon has been a quality run defender. These Pro Football Focus grades from even a somewhat disappointing 2019 are still reason for optimism for 2020 for Vernon, and the overall grade is still a fairly notable one.
Albeit last season, Vernon was again not nearly his difference-making self, of which he’s been most of his career on the edge as a disruptor.
Next season, with him hopefully mostly healthy, he’ll be an impact player opposite Myles Garrett and next to Larry Ogunjobi/Sheldon Richardson/Andrew Billings. Vernon and quality rotational defensive end piece Adrian Clayborn could form a formidable tandem at times in pass rush situations next to each other with Clayborn on the inside and Garrett opposite Vernon, too.
Moreover, Vernon will be ultra motivated, and could very well have a bounce back 2020 for the Cleveland Browns.
Nobody can say for certain if Vernon will be healthy throughout this upcoming season. The novel coronavirus pandemic won’t make getting into football shape in terms of on the line of scrimmage play easy, either.
Even factoring that in, players will get there and Vernon, whose had tons of success, should be just fine. Anyway, it is fair to say Vernon will be ultra motivated in 2020 for the Browns. There’s the previous season he had in not feasibly being at his true capability, and another key factor.
The Cleveland Browns have been rumored throughout the offseason as being hot in the pursuit of free agent Jadeveon Clowney. Cleveland reportedly even made the highest offer to Clowney, but the star defensive end has not shown any desire to play in Cleveland.
With that interest in Clowney, though, it should only light more of a fire under Vernon. Vernon’s reported contract restructuring with the Browns, of which DPD’s Greg Newland detailed, plays some into that, too.
That contract renegotiation seems to have further shut the door on the Browns-Clowney rumors, but the constant Clowney rumblings still have to be ultra motivating for Vernon, anyhow.
Needless to say, it will be nice to see if that added motivation for Vernon will lead to more of an impact for him for the Browns. If he can stay healthy, expect him to have a resurgent 2020 for Cleveland, in the event the season is played out, which hopefully is the case.
From Vernon, that’d relate to pass rushing in helping of Denzel Ward and company in coverage, and also in setting the edge/affecting stretch runs to aid Mack Wilson and other key run defenders.