New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin left open on Monday the possibility that Jason Pierre-Paul, who returned to the team last week following his July 4 fireworks accident, could play this Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"If he practices and continues to advance in the way that he has over the last few days that he's been with us, if we feel good where he is physically after he goes through this, then that would be a decision that we would be confident in making," Coughlin said.
The coach added that the Giants would "increase everything" with Pierre-Paul this week.
"We'll increase number of snaps, we've had a couple sessions with him in pads when others are obviously not on the field, so we'll take a good hard look at that, but we'll have two good practice days with him and we'll push the envelope a little bit to test the conditioning level," Coughlin said. "We probably can't get, at this point of the season, a real physical practice but we can do some things and if we have to be creative in other areas, we would. But just the advancement of the player and the continuation of developing his conditioning in the uniform and then the ability to deliver a blow, to accept a blow, to have his hand placement be exactly where it has to be, and then, of course, the opportunity for him to gain his timing as he becomes a threat in the pass rush game."
Pierre-Paul, of course, has missed the first half of the season as his disfigured right hand heals following the amputation of his right index finger and other injuries sustained from the fireworks mishap. He was just cleared to return by Giants doctors last week. After not having participated in any football activities since the end of the 2014 season the question is how quickly can Pierre-Paul get into condition to play at least a limited number of snaps.
The Giants, obviously, can use any help Pierre-Paul, who has 12.5 sacks in 2014, could provide. They are last in the league in defense after being embarrassed by the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, surrendering 614 yards and 52 points.
Here are some other takeaways from Coughlin's Monday post-mortem on Sunday's 52-49 loss to the Saints.
No finger-pointing after allowed
"We win and we lose as a team. There's none of this pointing the finger, there's none of that," Coughlin said. "Our goal, our objective last week was to raise the level of our execution on all fronts, all three phases ... we did not accomplish that, obviously. We had some difficulty on the defensive side of the ball, no doubt."
The good news, as Coughlin pointed out, is that the 4-4 Giants are "still in first place in our division."
On losing when Eli Manning throws six touchdown passes
"We scored 21 points in the fourth quarter," said Coughlin, pointing out that the Giants twice erased 14-point deficits. "Normally you'd be in celebration ... there's a lot of reasons to be shaking your head."
On where the Giants go from here defensively
"What do you mean, how do you re-group. You go back to back to fundamentals, you go back to some basics that obviously we struggled with a little bit. There were a couple of times we didn't line up properly, or quickly enough. Our communication sometimes was not as good as it should have been. ... Those were the things that bothered me the most. Get yourself lined up. Get your eyes where they belong. Play the technique you're supposed to play."
Coughlin had little information on injured players, saying "there's a bunch of guys getting MRIs." He offered no new information on cornerback Prince Amukamara (pectoral) or wide receiver Victor Cruz (calf). Same with players injured Sunday, including tight end Larry Donnell and running back Orleans Darkwa.