NFL roster cuts: AFC | NFC

JPP not optimistic about Packers game

November, 13, 2013
11/13/13
4:25
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The good news is, Jason Pierre-Paul says he's back to his old self.

The bad news is, he may not be on the field against the Green Bay Packers.

Pierre-Paul
The New York Giants defensive end sat out practice Wednesday, already plans to sit out Thursday, and has no idea whether he'll be able to play Sunday, because of his injured right shoulder.

"Nope, I’m not practicing tomorrow," Pierre-Paul told reporters Wednesday afternoon. "I don't know about the game either."

Does he have a gut feeling about his availability for the Packers game? "I’m just going day by day," he said. "Once it stops hurting me, I’ll play."

Pierre-Paul suffered the injury, a stinger, in last Sunday's win over the Oakland Raiders. He left the game in the first quarter, but X-rays were negative and he was able to return in the second quarter.

He wouldn't elaborate on the injury Wednesday, just saying he's "still pretty sore" but "it's getting better and better." But he did downplay the pain to a degree.

"This is a baby compared to my back surgery," he said. "I got over that, I’m gonna get over this."

Speaking of his offseason back surgery, Pierre-Paul has looked better in recent weeks, after getting off to a slow start this year. He had four combined tackles and a sack against the Raiders -- only his second sack of the season, and first since Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys.

Prior to the Raiders game, Pierre-Paul pronounced himself at 90 percent. He spoke even more strongly Wednesday.

"I’m back. There’s no question about that, I’m back," Pierre-Paul said. "Last Sunday’s game, I think I had a great game. That was probably one of my best games. Wound up with one sack or whatever, could have had more.

"The way I came out Sunday, I’ll come out [that way] the rest of the year."

That is music to Giants' fans ears. They've been waiting to see the player who burst onto the NFL scene in 2011, when he recorded 16.5 sacks in his second year in the league.

The Giants remain near the bottom of the NFL in sacks as a team -- tied for 30th, with 14. But they had a season-high four sacks against Oakland.

And the defense on the whole is rounding into form. The Giants haven't given up a second-half touchdown in four games in a row, for the first time since 2007. And they have held their past three opponents to 213 total yards or less -- the last NFL team to do so was the Houston Texans in 2011.

The Packers will have third-stringer Scott Tolzien at quarterback at Sunday, instead of injured All-Pro Aaron Rodgers and backup Seneca Wallace. But Pierre-Paul's presence is still very important.

Green Bay has one of the best offenses in the NFL -- fifth in the league in passing yards per game (276.9), and sixth in rushing yards per game (143.1). And Tolzien posted pretty good numbers Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles -- especially when you consider he was making his NFL debut: 24-for-39 for 280 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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