Giants DE Olivier Vernon may have been listed as limited at practice on Thursday, but there is a chance he could see his first game action on Sunday against the Panthers. And he couldn't be more excited to get back out there.
"I'm just excited for when I finally can get on the field and be able to contribute," Vernon said. "That's what I look forward to and everything else we just got to take it day-by-day."
Vernon has been stuck on the Giants' sideline for the first four weeks, as he continued to nurse his high ankle sprain. But he didn't aimlessly watch the games.
"Anybody can watch the game and say you could've made that play, but it's not really what it is," he said. "You just see a lot of guys that are trying to make plays and a lot of young guys just out there getting the experience and they're trying to make plays as well.
"All you could do is mentally prepare yourself to comeback and be able to contribute."
If Vernon can play on Sunday, he won't have the easiest of taks in containing Panthers QB Cam Newton. The veteran signal-caller has the ability to make plays out of the pocket, and run for big gains.
One of the favorite plays Newton likes to run is the read-option, something the Giants have struggled with so after meetings with Dak Prescott and Deshaun Watson. Even Blake Bortles in Week 1 worked his way around the rush and picked up first downs.
Vernon knows the Panthers will try to exploit that weakness, but he'll try his best to be ready for it.
"Yeah they've been using him like that since he's been in the league," he explained. "He's capable of doing all types of stuff. His biggest thing that he can do is he's going to make plays with his feet, make things happen out of nothing so that's just our responsibility is just to contain him and make sure we're doing what we have to do to stop the run and play the pass."
Vernon has two days left to prove to the Giants he can get out there before he can think about Newton. He also wants to prove to himself that he won't be a "liability" if he suits up in Carolina.
"Prove to myself is the number one priority, but then also showing them that I'm capable of making certain plays that you don't want to be a liability out there," Vernon said. "It's just basically showing the coaches you're capable of making the cuts when you have to or inside stunts and stuff like that."
The Giants pass rush will certainly hope Vernon will be healthy enough to return. He led New York in sacks last season (6.5) while collecting 37 combined tackles and 12 quarterback hits as well over 12 games.