By Curt Macysyn
The New York Giants pass rush has been almost non-existent this year. Big Blue ranks dead last with just 12 quarterback sacks in 11 games this season, and their sack leader is part-time player Damontre Moore with three. Former All Pro defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul came back from a serious injury to his right hand faster than most expected, but JPP has not made a measurable difference statistically. But has Pierre-Paul done enough to warrant a new contract with the Giants? If it were only up to him, JPP has made it clear that he wants to remain in the Big Apple.
Any progress of the Giants’ offense this season seems to get muted by injuries along their offensive line. With three starters absent from the Giants’ unit for most Sunday against the Washington Redskins, the Giants offense sputtered until late. Now with Geoff Schwartz gone for the season with a broken leg, what will the o-line look like against the Jets this Sunday?
This is the week that defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul hopes to make a tangible difference on the Giants’ defensive front four. Big Blue’s toothless pass rush ranks last in the NFL with just 12 quarterback sacks, a stat that JPP hopes to change on Sunday with his first of the year. But remember that it was one year ago the G-men and Pierre-Paul’s camp were doing a contract dance before free agency.
Dan Graziano of ESPN.com reports that JPP has changed course this season after a sobering accident that left the talented defender with a mangled right hand, courtesy of a Fourth of July fireworks accident. “This is the team that drafted me, I love it here and I want to finish my career here,” Pierre-Paul said after Giants practice Wednesday. Comments like these were not part of the landscape last season.
As Graziano noted Pierre-Paul is still getting used to his new normal, and Wednesday was the first time that he used his right hand on the ground in his three point stance. As far as the Giants’ interest, no one knows what the remainder of the season will bring, let alone the potential of the off season. But the fact that Pierre-Paul no longer plays coy about his desire can be construed as nothing but positive for the franchise.
Offensive Line Dance
After losing Geoff Schwartz for the season with a fractured leg, for the second straight year, the Giants will undoubtedly have a reconfigured unit on Sunday against the New York Jets. For the G-men to be effective against the Jets pass rush, Big Blue will need both center Weston Richburg and right guard Justin Pugh to return from injuries this week. Pugh has been sitting out due to the NFL concussion protocol for several weeks, while Richburg has had a high ankle sprain suffered against the New England Patriots that appears better this week.
Richburg was a limited participant at practice on Wednesday, but he is making progress. “I did quite a bit more than I did last week,” Richburg said of his Wednesday practice. “So it was good. I feel positive.” Pugh’s return to practice means he is out of the NFL concussion protocol and will remain on track to play on Sunday if he does not suffer a setback. Tom Rock of Newsday tweeted that “[head coach Tom] Coughlin seemed cautiously optimistic regarding Pugh. Will work [on Wednesday], and increase load if he still feels ok tomorrow.”
The Giants signed Adam Gettis to the 53-man roster to take Schwartz’s place, but John Jerry gets the start at right guard, if Pugh gets back to his left guard position. Rookie Bobby Hart saw action on Sunday at left guard for 53 snaps, and veteran Dallas Reynolds played all 70 offensive snaps at center against the Redskins.
Curt Macysyn has been covering the New York Football Giants for the past four seasons for Examiner.com, and he is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA). Born and raised in New Jersey, Curt attended Seton Hall Prep School in South Orange, N.J. and is a graduate of Rutgers University – New Brunswick. Follow him on Twitter @CurtMac23 for the latest NFL and New York Giants news.