Can Jason Pierre-Paul, damaged hand and all, be a savior for the New York Giants defense, statistically the NFL's worst this season? Asked about that on Wednesday, Pierre-Paul deflected the question.
"Put it all on me, huh? Like I said, I'm going to do whatever I can to help this team win. I'm starting off slow, I'm a little bit rusty -- that's going to happen, no training camp, no nothing," Pierre-Paul said. "But when I'm out there, I'm giving it my all. I have no, "I could work on this tomorrow," that's not my mindset no more. It's do it now or do it never."
Pierre-Paul was asked if his presence could "fix everything" that ails a defense that is last in the league in sacks with nine and yardage allowed (428.2 yards per game).
"Maybe, who knows? You've just got to wait and see," Pierre-Paul said. "At the end of the day, I'm here to help my team win. I can't say I'm going to go out there and get sacks, I don't know. All I know is I can try my hardest and promise I'll fight for it."
So, will Pierre-Paul play Sunday when the Giants face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Head coach Tom Coughlin said earlier Wednesday that "if he's ready" Pierre-Paul would play for the first time since his July 4 fireworks accident. Pierre-Paul was coy about that topic, saying "maybe" and that it "depends."
"I don't know, it's up to the medical staff," Pierre-Paul said. "Yeah, I want to play, yeah. But it's up to the medical staff; like I said, they're taking my slowly."
What kind of player does Pierre-Paul expect to be when he does get back on the field?
"I know for a fact that I'm still the same JPP -- getting to the ball, screen pass, running and chasing down, getting to the quarterback, playing the run," Pierre-Paul said. "It's just that confidence I've got to get back, "Hey, my hand is okay." You've just got to do what you've got to do.
"I think I'm okay. You never know until you're out there, that's why there's practices. I've been doing good in practice. Coming off any injury, you've just got to go out there and have that confidence. I feel confident in myself shooting my hand and doing what I do best -- playing the run and getting back there pass rushing."
With his right index finger having been amputated and missing a portion of his thumb, Pierre-Paul admitted that "of course" there would be changes in his stance. He said, though, that he can still line up at either defensive end position. That is something he has done throughout his career.
"It's going to be a big adjustment. This is something that I've got to get over, which I did get over the bad part, but playing football, there's going to be things I've got to adjust to, just like my everyday living," Pierre-Paul said. "But there's nothing that I can't do."
Here's a little something that was not in the transcript provided by the Giants.
JPP said his damaged right hand doesn't hurt anymore. "Nah," he said. "I'm past the hurt."— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoNYDN) November 4, 2015
JPP added he continues to rehab his hand. He's right handed and still writes with his right hand, but "opening bottle caps" has been tough.— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoNYDN) November 4, 2015
What his teammates think so far
What do Pierre-Paul's teammates think of what they have seen from JPP in the few practices he has had thus far?
"This is awesome. It makes my life easier," said quarterback Eli Manning, mostly because the media apparently largely was leaving the quarterback alone in the locker room.
Justin Pugh told me: "I'd be scared to be the left tackle going against JPP for the rest of the season. I think he's got something to prove"— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) November 4, 2015
Pugh on what he would do with JPP this week if he was the Giants coach: "I'm sending him out there!"— Tom Rock (@TomRock_Newsday) November 4, 2015