The numbers do not add up.
Olivier Vernon is the second highest-paid player on the Giants, signing in 2016 a five-year, $85 million contract in free agency that guarantees him $52.5 million. He counts $17 million against the salary cap this season. And yet, he has only one sack.
True, Vernon missed the first five games with a high ankle sprain. In his six games, the one sack for the 28-year old linebacker/defensive end came in Week 6 against the Eagles. Since then, Vernon has at times applied pressure to the pocket, but it is not as if he is generating a great deal of push or making dynamic plays and simply not getting sacks.
“Certainly getting pressure on the quarterback is important,’’ coach Pat Shurmur said a day after the Giants’ 25-22 loss to the Eagles. “We want all of our really good players to get production. He’s out there, he’s contributing. You don’t sack the quarterback or the quarterback has a pretty good day throwing the ball. Certainly part of it is the rush.’’
Often, coaches in these situations will point to the extra attention a top player receives, but not this time with Vernon.
“No, not really,’’ Shurmur said. “Again, this is my first exposure to O.V. You know way more about him than I do in terms of his history here with the Giants. But no, I don’t see teams spending extra resources to block him.’’
Odell Beckham Jr. after the game said, “I would’ve loved to attack’’ the Eagles’ depleted secondary but “it wasn’t in the game plan.’’ Shurmur did not agree with that assessment.
“We ran the ball 18 times and threw it 37,’’ he said. “That’s twice as many throws as there were runs. We had seven explosive gains in the passing game. You’ll have to ask him to define it after he watches the tape, but I felt like we were trying to do the things necessary to win the game.’’
Asked if he is concerned about Beckham’s comments, Shurmur said, “That was one man’s opinion after an emotional loss, but what happens is you get an opportunity to get a good night’s sleep, watch the tape, and maybe change his opinion.’’
Shurmur’s decision to go for the two-point conversion from the 1-yard line after opening the game with a touchdown failed when Eli Manning’s pass to fullback Eli Penny was broken up by Malcolm Jenkins. From such a short distance, the call could have been a handoff to Saquon Barkley.
“It could’ve been a good choice,’’ Shurmur said. His pass-play design did work, though, but Manning failed to spot wide-open Rhett Ellison in the back of the end zone. Shurmur initially did not respond to that reminder, but did make a gesture.
“For the record, that was a shoulder shrug,’’ he said.
TE Evan Engram strained a hamstring in pregame warm-ups and did not play versus the Eagles.
“To kind of lose like that and not be able to have my hand in or just to help or be out there with my guys, it definitely sucks,’’ Engram said.
After going through some resistance tests administered by trainers, Engram said he was encouraged with the results but could not promise to be on the field against the Bears.