New York Giants: Jason Pierre-Paul

Coughlin not sure about Wilson's return

February, 21, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS -- One day after ESPN reported that running back David Wilson is targeting a training-camp return, New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin tried to tamp down expectations, saying he's not sure when Wilson will be cleared.

"Do I think he'll be ready for training camp? I really don't know the answer to that," Coughlin said Friday at the NFL scouting combine. "A lot has to do with his attitude, the way he feels and the way the doctors and trainers obviously feel. He's not going to be put out there until he's ready for that. I'm not even (sure) how (much) he's going to be limited in the spring."

Wilson suffered a herniated disk last Oct. 6 and underwent surgery Jan. 16.

Coughlin said Wilson was in good spirits when they talked a few days ago. Wilson has begun light weight-lifting with his legs, reporting little pain, according to Coughlin.

"Forget about the fact that he could be a difference-maker on our team; it's the idea, is he going to be healthy enough to be able to withstand?" the coach said. "We're not going to put him out there unless he really, really believes in himself and when the doctors believe he's ready to go."

Coughlin addressed other issues:

• He sounded confident that guard Chris Snee will rehab his surgically repaired hip and will return for the 2014 season. Coughlin said there's "no question" that Snee will be ready. He likely will have to restructure his contract.

• Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is making "very good progress" with his troublesome back. Said Coughlin: "He wants to be the player he was a couple of years ago. I'm interested in that."

• Second-year tackle Justin Pugh has been encouraged to gain weight. Coughlin said he wants Pugh in the 310- to 315-pound range. "That," he said, "would add power in his play."

• Coughlin declined to speculate on the future of defensive end Justin Tuck and wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, both of whom will be free agents on March 11.

Pierre-Paul practices Friday

November, 15, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder) practiced Friday during the portion open to the media. His return is a good sign for his availability in Sunday's home game against the Packers.

Pierre-Paul suffered the injury against the Raiders last Sunday and missed the past two days of practice. Pierre-Paul said Wednesday that he wasn't sure if he'd be able to suit up when the Giants go for their fourth straight win.

Cornerback Corey Webster (groin/ankle) didn't practice, making it likely he won't play Sunday. Running back Brandon Jacobs (hamstring/knee), tight end Bear Pascoe (ankle) and corner Terrell Thomas (knee) worked during the open portion.

Positional analysis: Defensive line

February, 11, 2013
We've been taking a look toward 2013 with a position-by-position breakdown of the Giants leading into the scouting combine and free agency.

So far, we have analyzed quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end. and offensive line.


2012 depth chart:
DE Jason Pierre-Paul, DE Justin Tuck, DE Osi Umenyiora, DE/LB Mathias Kiwanuka, DE Adrian Tracy, DE Adewale Ojomo, DT Linval Joseph, DT Chris Canty, DT Rocky Bernard, DT Marvin Austin, DT Markus Kuhn.

[+] EnlargeJason Pierre-Paul
Larry French/Getty ImagesOffenses keyed on Jason Pierre-Paul, who dropped from 16.5 sacks in 2011 to 6.5 in 2012.
Overview: Sacks were down as the Giants went from 48 in 2011 to 33 last season. Offenses keyed in on the Giants' pass rushers; JPP gained a lot of attention after his breakout season and was held to just 6.5 sacks. Umenyiora had six sacks and Tuck collected just four. The Giants finished 31st in total defense, 28th against the pass and 25th against the run. They couldn't get enough pressure on quarterbacks when they needed to, and stopping the run was problematic. Joseph continued to get better with 59 tackles and 4.0 sacks. Canty played in just nine games due to his knee.

Free agents: Umenyiora, Bernard, Tracy (exclusive rights free agent), DE Justin Trattou (exclusive rights free agent).

2013 personnel preview: The Giants will need more production from Pierre-Paul and Tuck, especially if Umenyiora isn't back. ... The Giants could always potentially move Kiwanuka back to defensive end. ... The Giants could sign another pass rusher in free agency or draft one. ... Tracy could emerge as the Giants' extra pass rusher. Ojomo also showed potential last preseason. ... The Giants will have to figure out who will start alongside Joseph now that Canty was let go. They re-signed Shaun Rogers to plug the middle. After missing all of last season due to a blood clot, Rogers will attempt a comeback. Austin should get opportunities in camp to show that he is ready for a bigger role. Kuhn exceeded expectations last season before tearing his ACL. ... Bottom line is that the Giants' defensive line has to be more dominant in 2013.

Salary-cap situation: Umenyiora is a free agent and is looking for more a lucrative contract and a starting job –- two things the Giants likely cannot give him. But he did leave the door open for a potential return. ... Tuck is entering the final year of his contract and vows to have a vintage Tuck year. ... The Giants shaved cap space by releasing Canty and re-signed Rogers to a cheap low-risk deal. There's always the possibility they could add another veteran defensive lineman in free agency.

Tell us what you think of the Giants' defensive line going into 2013 and what you want to see happen in the offseason.

Tracy ready to step up after long wait

December, 22, 2012
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It may have taken eight weeks longer than Adrian Tracy expected, but the Giants defensive end is excited for a potential increase in playing time Sunday.

With defensive end Justin Tuck questionable for Sunday's game against Baltimore, Tracy is in line to potentially see a boost in snaps if the veteran can't go. It seemed earlier this year that Tracy would be a bigger part of the defense after his first sack against San Francisco, but that never translated.

"(I'd be) Ecstatic. This is what you want to do. You want to play. You want to get out on the field and you want to contribute to the team and do anything to help them win," Tracy said. "In San Francisco, when I got the opportunity, I was on cloud nine and if it presents itself this week, I'll have the same feeling."

Tuck did not practice all week and it's up in the air if he will be able to go. The Giants depth chart currently has Tracy as the backup to co-starters Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora on the right side, and Mathias Kiwanuka as the backup to Tuck. Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said he'll have to see when asked if Tracy would be in line to see a boost in playing time.

A sixth-round pick in 2010, Tracy has bounced back and forth between linebacker and defensive end in his short tenure with the Giants. He registered the first sack of his career against San Francisco on Oct. 14, and thought he might see a tick in his playing time because of it. The team had found a combination defensive end/linebacker position for him, and he responded with a strong showing in brief action.

Eight games later, Tracy has received just 20 snaps since, including four games when the team didn't use him on defense at all. In the last three games, he's only had three defensive snaps, all of which came in the blowout win against New Orleans. The momentum that was supposed to keep Tracy on the field just hasn't materialized as the Giants enter the final two games of the season.

"There was a role that was made for me and they thought that I played well at that position and I thought that my role would increase, but in due time," Tracy said. "Things happen."

Tracy said he's been pretty much playing as a defensive end this week, and wants to be sure that there isn't a drop off if he gets to play.

"Every week I go into the game plan prepared," Tracy said. " I get my mentality right to focus on what is required of me in the different positions that I fill and that’s what you want to be is prepared at all times in case something happens where you’re called on."

Nunn: Stopping run will aid pass rush

November, 15, 2012
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Before they can rush the passer, the Giants need to stop the run.

Giants defensive line coach Robert Nunn said his stable of pass-rushers need to do a better job of creating opportunities to get to the quarterback, which stems from being better against the run. While The Giants are tied for ninth with 25 sacks, that would put them on pace for eight fewer sacks than 2011.

"(We need to improve) as far as creating situations, playing the run better, being more sound against the run," Nunn said. "Nobody in the league is going to rush the passer on 2nd-and-3. We want to create down-and-distances. Like 2nd-and-8, 2nd-and-9, 3rd-and-long, 3rd-and-7-plus, that's when your pass rush will show up more and hit the quarterback and get more disruptions."

While sacks are the statistic that garners the most attention, Nunn said his unit still is disrupting the quarterback at about the same pace as in 2011. Disruptions include pressuring a quarterback, which is perhaps a better indicator of a defensive line's success, as well as batting balls down at the line. Nunn said the Giants have been as good as anybody in the league doing that the past three years.

Creating better situations for the pass rush involves putting opponents in harder down-and-distance situations. By being more effective on first and second down, the Giants can put their opponents into pure passing situations, which allows the line to pin its ears back. The Giants are in the middle of the pack in the NFL by allowing 113.8 rushing yards per game. A better run defense would help pass-rushers like Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul.

"Have they been getting to the quarterback? No, not as much as we want to," Nunn said. "I don't think they are rushing any different than they have in the past. That haven't had the opportunities, in which we created them in the past, and that's the thing we have to do a better job of ... creating those opportunities to get them to the quarterback."

In Sunday's loss to Cincinnati, the Giants didn't record a sack, struggling to get close to quarterback Andy Dalton. Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said there was a lack of production up front and while the Bengals had some tactics to counter the rush, the team expects its front four to get there.

The Giants tried to create some opportunities Sunday with some new personnel, as they used Adrian Tracy and Mathias Kiwaunuka more in their packages.

Whenever the pass rush struggles, though, the focus will always be on the trio of Tuck, Umenyiora and Pierre-Paul. The threesome has a combined 13 1/2 sacks on the year, which is currently fewer than Pierre-Paul registered by himself last year.

Nunn said Tuck has had a few games where the defensive end didn't play as well as he wanted to, but he thinks the veteran is close to getting to that level. He added that Umenyiora has been solid and his pressures have been there, and Pierre-Paul has been solid against the run.

"They are going to get all the focus, that's the position they have put themselves in," Nunn said. "We have to go make improvements in areas that we can make improvements in and control the things that we can control."

Dalton, Green exploit G-Men's holes on D

November, 11, 2012
Andy DaltonAndrew Weber/US PresswireAndy Dalton picked apart the Giants defense on Sunday, throwing for a career-high four touchdowns.
CINCINNATI – Five plays into Sunday’s loss against the Bengals, the Giants trailed 7-0 because they had given up another long touchdown pass.

A.J. Green’s 56-yard touchdown reception down the right sideline was an easy pitch-and-catch session for him and quarterback Andy Dalton. The Giants knew coming into the game who Dalton’s No. 1 target was, yet there was Green all alone behind cornerback Corey Webster with no safety help in sight. Webster thought he was getting help over the top. He was mistaken.

“We gave him one off a busted coverage, 56 yards,” said Webster. “[You] can’t do that. You’re playing against a good team already and a good receiver already so you don’t want to give him anything. You want him to earn it. Good receiver but we can’t give him nothing.”

It was the ninth time this season the Giants had allowed a touchdown pass of 26 yards or more this season. According to ESPN Stats & Information, it was the 11th play of 30 yards or more the Giants have given up between the numbers and the sideline. Green now has seven catches this season of 30 or more yards, six of which have come outside of the numbers.

The secondary’s rough day was compounded by the defensive line’s disappearance. The Giants didn’t sack Dalton and were credited with just one quarterback hit. Dalton had all kinds of time to look for receivers and complete 21 of 30 passes for an efficient 199 yards and the first four-touchdown game of his career.
Dalton had thrown at least one interception in his first eight games this season, a stat the Giants have thrived on this season, but not Sunday.

“We got to see what we can do correctly,” said defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. “We can’t be on a losing streak. It doesn’t feel good at all. We got to come back and come harder.”

Last Thursday, Green made comments during an interview on WFAN that the Giants’ defense had holes. Green finished with seven catches for 85 yards and the touchdown. Rookie wide receiver Mohamed Sanu – from Rutgers and South Brunswick, N.J. – had a career high four catches for 47 yards and his first career touchdown reception.

“Those comments were definitely misunderstood,” said Green. “The Giants have a great defense. Andy had a great game, Mo (Sanu) had a great game, Hawk (Andrew Hawkins) had a great game. A lot of people stepped up today.”

Following Green’s WFAN comments, safety Antrel Rolle had warned Green that he’d “better duck” if Green saw him on the field and that he’d let his pads do the talking.

There wasn’t much talking going on from the Giants’ side.

“It was just a lop-sided game no matter how you look at it,” said Rolle. “It wasn’t A.J. Green that beat us. It was their entire team that beat us. We’ve got to get better. We can’t hang our heads. We can’t beat ourselves up anymore than we already did today.

Giants visited by Gen. Odierno

November, 2, 2012
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Giants were visited Friday by U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno, who talked to the team about some of his experiences during the recovery effort in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Odierno will be at Sunday's game against the Steelers. It's one of the NFL’s Salute to Service games.

“[He spoke of] the resiliency of the people in New Jersey and New York area, and how they’re tough and no matter what they’re not going to let these circumstances dictate to them,” Giants defensive tackle Chris Canty said. “They’re going to come back. They’re not going to let it affect what they do. Just that kind of strength.

“Just understanding that when we take the field on Sunday, that we represent these folks. That was the message, and it was a timely message and an important message.”

Coughlin said Odierno, who has 10,000 soldiers in New York City, was there Friday morning to address the team without even being asked. Coughlin has been known to bring in military officers to address the team before games. Players shook hands and spoke with some of the officers who attended practice Friday afternoon.

“I think they will take forward the toughness, the resiliency of the people in this greater New York-New Jersey-Connecticut, the entire Eastern Seaboard, that’s been affected in such a way by this huge storm. I think that the message is the toughness here, the resiliency,” Coughlin said. “We will not be stopped by the storm. We will come back. We will fight our way through this. We will get things right again. Just the pride that has been demonstrated to the general this morning, I think he verbalized very well for us out here.”

The players all spoke positively of the message about playing for those affected in the area. Defensive end Justin Tuck talked about the team trying to help the situation by going and playing a great football game Sunday, and then getting in the communities and doing what they can to help. Linebacker Mark Herzlich talked about fighting back.

Canty doesn’t believe there’s any pressure playing Sunday knowing there will be plenty of people tuning in to watch the Giants for some enjoyment after what’s been a disastrous week. “I don’t think it’s pressure as much as it is an honor and privilege to represent the people of this great city, these two great states, all our fans especially amid all of the loss, all of the damage and construction,” Canty said. “Just to be able to provide a sense of normalcy, even for a couple of hours. It’s important for our football team.”

Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul said the team will be giving its all against the Steelers.

“We’re going to go out there Sunday and play our hearts out,” Pierre-Paul said. “It’s going to be a great one.”

Pierre-Paul shows off 'basketball skills'

October, 28, 2012
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Jason Pierre-Paul patiently went through a description of his 28-yard interception return.

But what he really wanted to talk about was what happened after he reached the end zone. A one-handed dunk over the crossbar.

“Did you see the dunk?’’ Pierre-Paul, breaking into a grin, asked the reporters. “I've got some basketball skills.’’

Pierre-Paul’s second-period touchdown helped the Giants defeat Dallas, 29-24.

Pierre-Paul seems to save his biggest plays for the Giants' trips to Dallas. In the very same end of the field at Cowboys Stadium in 2011, Pierre-Paul blocked a Dallas field goal to preserve a 37-34 New York victory.

Instead of rushing Tony Romo on the interception play, Pierre-Paul drifted to his right, toward the sideline. “I was supposed to rush, but I was kind of being patient on my rush. [Romo] always backs up and takes a step to the right on that kind of play,’’ Pierre-Paul said.

Romo tried to float the ball to running back Felix Jones in the flat, but basketball skills came in handy for Pierre-Paul. Snatching the football with two hands was a lot like pulling down a rebound.

“I was up pretty good,’’ he said.

The Cowboys fought back and threatened to pull it out in the final seconds.

“That last pass, we thought it was over,’’ Pierre-Paul said. “Everybody thought it was over. Dez was celebrating. All we could tell was that the referee was going to the review booth to see what it was. When they called it not a touchdown, it gave us another shot to go out there and play hardball. Just get at the quarterback one last time.’’

Pierre-Paul likes the direction the Giants' defense is headed.

“Every game we play, we are just getting better and better,'' the defensive end said. "We are not even at our full potential as a defense. We are probably at 50 percent. We have a whole lot of football left to play.’’

Pass rush registers six sacks

October, 15, 2012
SAN FRANCISCO -- After the abundant criticism the Giants' defensive line endured for the lack of pressure on the quarterback this year, defensive Osi Umeniyora seemed casual about the unit's dominating performance against the 49ers.

When brought to his attention that the Giants sacked 49ers quarterbacks six times, Umeniyora, quipped, "Was it six? I don't even know."

[+] EnlargeJason Pierre-Paul
Ed Szczepanski/US PresswireJason Pierre-Paul (90) had two sacks Sunday.
It was six, and the Giants' superlative play on the defensive line caught the attention of their quarterback, Eli Manning.

"They played outstanding, flying around," Manning said. "When you see them play like that, hold the team to field goals, then we can be patient offensively. We don't have to force things."

The Giants might have surprised the 49ers by sending waves of pass rushers after quarterbacks Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick. Typically, the Giants employ the same four of Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Umeniyora and Mathias Kiwanuka.

In this game, Marvin Austin and Adrian Tracy got cracks at rushing the passer with Kiwanuka reprising his role as a defensive end. Kiwanuka has spent his career bouncing between outside linebacker and defensive end, and pass-rushing end suited him well Sunday.

"It is fun being out there with those guys, I am not going to lie," said Kiwanuka, who registered a sack for a 14-yard loss.

Asked if he would now be part of the pass-rushing package he said, "I think that is a question above my pay grade."

JPP: I'm not having as much fun

October, 4, 2012
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The defending Super Bowl champs are off to a tough start, and their best defensive player isn’t a happy camper.

“I’m gonna go out there and have fun like I had last year,” Jason Pierre-Paul said Thursday. “I haven’t been having fun this year.”

Those are startling words coming from one of the most happy-go-lucky guys in the New York Giants’ locker room. But Pierre-Paul placed the blame squarely on himself.

“I just gotta go out there and run around like a little kid, and just be happy that you’re out there,” he said. “Cause I feel like when I make the plays, I’m just like, ‘OK, that’s a good play, on to the next one.’ [I need to] have that energy like I had last year.”

Jason Pierre-Paul
AP Photo/David DrapkinJason Pierre-Paul admits he's not having as much fun this year as he's had in the past.
Philadelphia Eagles in prime time last Sunday, a hard-fought contest against a bitter rival that came down to a missed field goal attempt in the final seconds. They also lost to the Dallas Cowboys, another division rival, on national TV in the NFL’s regular season opener.

In between, the Giants managed victories over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers. But the team’s vaunted pass rush -- a driving force behind the team’s championship run a season ago -- has been underwhelming thus far in 2012.

Through four games, the defensive-end trio of Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora -- three former All-Pros -- has a combined total of 3.5 sacks, after recording 30.5 in last year’s regular season alone.

Pierre-Paul -- who had 16.5 sacks by himself last season, fourth-best in the NFL -- has just 1.5 so far this year. Tuck is still looking to get on the board.

“I can just say this, I am not having that much fun either,” Tuck said Thursday. “When I find out the cause of why I am not having as much fun, I will let you know.”

Both the players and coaches say that opposing teams are using different approaches this season, trying to neutralize the Giants’ defensive line.

“You’re getting formations -- if you saw last week’s game, you’re getting multiple tight ends, what I call a ‘box formation’ over there. That’s all to reduce the ability of the defensive end to just rush up the field to get to the quarterback,” said head coach Tom Coughlin. “When you see those types of formations, typically on passing downs, you’re aware of the fact that there is concern.”

“When I watch the film on every team, every team is changing the way they play us,” said Pierre-Paul. “We could go over something this week -- but the next week, that week we play them, it’s totally different. We just gotta come out there and adjust to it.”

“Oh yeah, people are doing some different things to try and protect against us,” said defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. “They’re getting the ball out quick, but you know, no matter what, you have to play the game.”

“Each team has been different this year,” Fewell added. “Sometimes you just have to whip somebody’s ass and make a play.”

Injuries haven’t helped matters any. The Giants have had more than their fair share -- especially in the secondary, where three of their four starters are currently banged up, including both safeties.

But maybe a little extra effort will make all the difference. At least one player thinks so.

“Even though it looks like I’m doing my job, only you know if you’re going hard all those plays -- which I do, but I know I can go even harder, to help my team out,” Pierre-Paul said. “And that’s what I’m looking for this year. I haven’t been doing that the first four games, I’ve just been going hard. But I want to go even a little bit harder.”

W2W4: Giants vs. Buccaneers

September, 14, 2012

It feels like a month since the Giants dropped their season opener to Dallas in disappointing fashion. The champs have had plenty of time to stew. Time to redeem themselves against Tampa Bay at MetLife Stadium at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Here's your What To Watch For on Sunday:

BuccaneersGiantsHip Hop Hooray: Justin Tuck had said prior to the season opener that the Giants' pass rush always enjoyed playing Dallas and it often was "almost in a way kind of a 'Hip Hop Hooray' party for us."

That was before Tony Romo crashed the party. On Sunday, the Giants' pass rush has to get its Naughty (by) Nature going again against Tampa Bay or the championship defense will be in serious trouble. The Giants must get to Josh Freeman. Tuck said it was "alarming" that neither he, Jason Pierre-Paul nor Osi Umenyiora got a sack against Dallas. The Giants need a strong performance from their pass-rushing trio.

Hot corner: Whether it is Prince Amukamara or Michael Coe, the Giants need better play at corner opposite Corey Webster. Webster has to play better than he did in the season opener, for that matter.

Amukamara hopes to return from a high ankle sprain and make his season debut Sunday. Coe has been battling a hamstring injury but says he is good to go. No matter who it is, the corners have to give the defensive line time to rush Freeman.

G.W.A.: Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks have T-shirts that show the Giants receivers under the letters "G.W.A." -– Giants With Attitude.

Last week against Dallas, though, the Giants receivers were almost M.I.A. Cruz and Nicks were shut out of the end zone and Cruz dropped three passes. It’s been a tough week for Cruz, who lost his grandmother on Monday. He credits Lucy Molina with helping to raise him and teaching him how to salsa. He hopes to score on Sunday and have an emotional salsa touchdown celebration.

Nicks is still playing through some pain lingering from offseason foot surgery, but he hopes to move closer to his old form this weekend. Both Nicks and Cruz have to be the playmakers that they are for Eli Manning.

Push it: Tom Coughlin wants to see his offensive line get better push up front to jump start the running game.

The Giants rushed for 82 yards against Dallas, but 33 of those yards came on one Ahmad Bradshaw run. Rushing against Tampa Bay could be difficult since Greg Schiano's defense held Carolina to 10 yards of net rushing last Sunday.

Rookie David Wilson hopes to get a shot at redemption after fumbling last week.

Must win? After dropping the season opener, the Giants cannot afford to start 0-2. With the toughest schedule in the NFL, one that is downright brutal in the second half, the Giants have to take care of business and win as many home games as possible.

Tampa Bay may be 1-0 but it is still rebuilding. The Giants pretty much have to win this one, with a quick turnaround before Thursday night's game against Carolina. Michael Vick and the Eagles await after that.

D-line poised to make up for Dallas loss

September, 13, 2012
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Justin Tuck predicts you'll see a very different New York Giants team on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"The energy in practice is I think double what it was last week," Tuck said Thursday. "Guys seem to be a little bit more excited about playing football. I think last week we were a little sluggish."

The Giants lost their regular-season opener at home against the Dallas Cowboys, 24-17.

[+] EnlargeJason Pierre-Paul
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesJason Pierre-Paul and the Giants couldn't get to Tony Romo last week.
When asked how the defending Super Bowl champions could be sluggish in Week 1, Tuck said, "You're asking the million dollar question. I don't know."

"Sure it's a fair question, and I wish I could give you the correct answer," he added. "Some things are unexplainable."

Giants coach Tom Coughlin, who admitted being unhappy with his team's practices prior to the Cowboys game, agreed that the team has looked better this week.

"Yesterday, the effort was very good," Coughlin said. "Today was, for the most part, pretty good -- I didn't think the last period was good. The effort, again, and the focus was better."

One of the most startling aspects of the Giants' loss to the Cowboys was the team's lack of a pass rush. The Giants recorded 48 sacks last season -- tied for third in the NFL -- and feature three of the most feared sack artists in the league in defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora and Tuck.

But last Wednesday night against Dallas, that trio didn't record a single sack. In fact, they didn't even record a quarterback hit.

"That's alarming," Tuck said. "That's not how we play football."

The Giants gave the Cowboys some credit on Thursday. "They played well," Tuck said. "Their offensive line played great."

But they also gave you the impression they tried to do too much against Dallas -- going for the big play individually, instead of doing what's ultimately best for the team collectively.

"We've just got to go out there and not try to do nothing extra," Pierre-Paul said. "Don't try to hit the home run. Don't try to get a sack going inside. Handle your responsibility and do your techniques."

"In this past game, they were getting the ball out quick, and we knew that," Umenyiora said. "So we should have done a better job of getting our hands up. We weren't gonna be able to get to the quarterback in a lot of those situations, so we should have got our hands up and try to knock the ball down."

"I think we pressed, trying to make plays," Tuck said.

Their defensive coordinator, Perry Fewell, said Thursday that he hasn't had to remind his three star defensive ends about their failure to produce in Week 1.

"That's the great thing about those guys," Fewell said. "The pride that they take in hits on the quarterback, sacks and doing what they do."

This Sunday they'll be chasing Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman, who piloted the Bucs to a 16-10 over the Carolina Panthers to open the regular season. Freeman, 24, is dangerous on his feet -- fifth among NFL QBs in rushing yards in 2011 (238 yards), and second in 2010 (364). He also had four rushing touchdowns last season.

The Giants expect to give Freeman a lot more problems than they did Tony Romo one week ago. The stakes are high -- according to ESPN Stats & Information, just 12 percent of teams starting a season 0-2 (22-184) have made the postseason since the playoffs expanded to 12 teams in 1990.

"We know we're a better defense than the way we went out there and played," Umenyiora said. "We didn't execute. We're coached better than that, and we're gonna play better than that on Sunday."

Eli leads list of ranked Giants

August, 21, 2012
Scouts Inc. and ESPN Insider's Matt Williamson have ranked players at all positions in the NFL heading into the 2012 season and the Giants are led by their two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback, Eli Manning. The signal-caller ranks at No. 15 overall and is one of eight Giants ranked in the top 200. Here's how they fared:

QB: Manning: No. 15 overall, No. 5 QB

RB: Ahmad Bradshaw: No. 28 RB

WR: Hakeem Nicks: No. 41 overall, No. 6 WR

WR: Victor Cruz: No. 156 overall, No. 23 WR

TE: Martellus Bennett: No. 32 TE

TE: Bear Pascoe: No. 39 TE

OT: Will Beatty: No. 32 OT

C: David Baas: No. 16 C

OG: Chris Snee: No. 192 overall, No. 9 OG

OG: David Diehl: No. 15 OG

OG: Sean Locklear: No. 33 OG

DE: Jason Pierre-Paul: No. 26 overall, No. 3 DE

DE: Justin Tuck: No. 58 overall, No. 8 DE

DE: Osi Umenyiora: No. 28 DE

DT: Chris Canty: No. 25 DT

DT: Linval Joseph: No. 30 DT

LB: Mathias Kiwanuka: No. 158 overall; No. 27 LB

LB: Michael Boley: No. 43 LB

CB: Corey Webster: No. 189 overall, No. 18 CB

S: Kenny Phillips: No. 11 S

S: Antrel Rolle: No. 16 S

K: Lawrence Tynes: No. 7 K

P: Steve Weatherford: No. 11 P

You can view the rankings here (Insider).

QUESTION: What do you think of these rankings for these Giants? Please let us know in the comments section below.

Giants Camp: Day 1 observations

July, 27, 2012
ALBANY, N.Y. -- The day started off looking gloomy with rain in the forecast. But the sun came out by noon and the Giants conducted their first practice of camp under the sun and in steamy conditions.

Here are some quick observations from the first practice:

-- Terrell Thomas started but was unable to finish practice after his back tightened up. The Giants say Thomas will be OK.

In his place, Michael Coe worked with the first team at cornerback opposite Corey Webster. Justin Tryon and Bruce Johnson were the second-team corners whilePrince Amukamara andAntwaun Molden were the third-team corners.

Mark L. Baer/US Presswire
The Giants conducted their first practice under steamy conditions Friday.

This gives us a little indication of how the Giants liked what they saw from Coe and Tryon in OTAs and minicamp. Also, it appears Amukamara is behind Coe and Tryon at the moment and perhaps Johnson. Coe, Tryon and Johnson are all coming back from season-ending injuries suffered last year.

-- Amukamara did show nice concentration on a bobbling interception off an overthrown deep ball by David Carr intended for Rueben Randle.

-- Randle had a nice training camp debut, making a few catches. During OTAs and minicamp, Randle showed ability to catch the ball across the middle and has nice hands and size.

-- Victor Cruz must feel at ease being in Albany again. He had a nice twisting catch that drew the loudest cheers from the crowd, which serenaded him with a “Cruuuz” chant.

-- The early pecking order at running back behind Ahmad Bradshaw is D.J. Ware, Andre Brown, Da’Rel Scott and David Wilson.

The Giants first-round pick was the last one to get some carries as it appears the rookie will have to work his way up. Wilson did have a nice leaping catch on a short pass from Ryan Perrilloux while Scott dropped a short pass.

-- The battle for the third wide receiver spot started with Hixon in with the first team opposite Cruz. Jerrel Jernigan and Ramses Barden were the second set of receivers and Randle came in after them. Jernigan caught some short passes and Barden also had a nice grab as he shielded off rookie cornerback Jayron Hosley.

-- Jernigan, Randle, Hixon, Hosley and wide receiver Brandon Collins fielded punt returns on the first day.

-- Here’s your order at linebacker so far. Michael Boley,Chase Blackburn and Mathias Kiwanuka lined up with the first team. Second team was Keith Rivers, Mark Herzlich and Jacquian Williams. And Greg Jones, Jake Muasau and Spencer Paysinger rounded out the third team.

Note that Jones remains at outside linebacker and Muasau continues to get reps at middle linebacker with the third team. Muasau had a nice diving interception after a pass glanced off the outstretched arms of wide receiver David Douglas.

-- Boley got the first interception of camp, picking off a short pass from Eli Manning intended for Cruz.

JPP: 'I'm about 50 percent'

July, 27, 2012
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Wearing a white hooded New York Giants Super Bowl champion sweatshirt, Jason Pierre-Paul stood out among the Giants walking into the cafeteria at training camp.

These days, it’s hard not to notice JPP either on or off the field, especially after a monster Pro Bowl season with 16.5 sacks and 86 tackles.

But the scary thing is that Pierre-Paul thinks he can get much better.

Mark L. Baer/US Presswire
Jason Pierre-Paul still has a long way to go, he says, before reaching his full potential. A scary thought considering his monster numbers last season.

“I am still improving,” Pierre-Paul said today before the Giants’ first practice of camp. “Trust me, I don’t know it all, I still got a lot to learn in this game of football. I am like right here.”

Pierre-Paul motioned his hand at about chest level to signify where he thinks he’s at. And then he moved his hand above his head to show how much higher he can go.

“I am about 50 [percent],” Pierre-Paul explained at where he thinks his game is at. “I am still learning. That is the good thing about it. I want to come out here and learn and keep on improving.”

The idea of Pierre-Paul getting better in his third season has to be terrifying for opposing quarterbacks and offensive lines.

Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora like to say that Pierre-Paul is only scratching the surface of how good he can be.

And with those three coming into camp healthy and in a good mental state of mind, the Giants’ pass rush should continue harassing quarterbacks all season long.

“If we all are healthy at the same time and get the opportunity to be on the football field together, that trio is going to be tough to handle,” Tuck said of the Giants’ trio of defensive ends. “It’s gonna be tough for offensive lines to block us."

"They’ll have to pick and choose, they can’t double-team all of us," Tuck continued. "We feel we can win the one-on-ones, that’s gonna be our strength this year, if we’re healthy.”

Pierre-Paul saw his share of double teams last year and is prepared to try to shed more attention this season.

“I was getting them last year,” Pierre-Paul said of the double teams. “That is not going to stop me. I am going to do my job.”

Last season, Pierre-Paul went into camp still looking to prove that he can be a starter for the injured Umenyiora. This year, he enters camp as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate.

But his whole mentality is to go into camp pretending like he is an anonymous young player coming out of college trying to make his first pro football team.

“I am just trying to be that 20-year-old kid trying to make a football team and be a sponge to the game and teach these rookies something too,” Pierre-Paul said. “That is basically it. Stay a 20-year-old kid trying to make the football team like I don’t even have a spot on the team.”