Jason Pierre-Paul missed his second straight practice on Thursday with a sprained shoulder, but the Giants defensive end said it will not keep him out of Sunday’s game against the winless Chargers.
“Of course I’m playing Sunday. No question,” Pierre-Paul said.
It is exactly what the Giants and their fans want to hear as the possibility of playing without both defensive ends — Olivier Vernon (ankle) also did not practice this week — would be an enormous blow to their defense.
However, head coach Ben McAdoo was not willing to go as far as Pierre-Paul, saying “it’s too early to tell” on whether or not he will play on Sunday while Vernon did not offer much on his status, only saying his main concern is “trying to get healthy.”
The Giants absolutely need both of them on the field, especially after struggling to get much of a pass rush against Jameis Winston in the fourth quarter of last week’s 25-23 loss to the Bucs.
The defense has actually struggled as a whole the last two weeks and Pierre-Paul, who admitted he played poorly and needs to be better, said they seem to have lost their intimidation factor.
“I don’t think other teams when they play the New York Giants, I don’t think they fear us,” he said. “What we put on film is what we put on film and the only way to change that is going out and winning the game.”
Defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison agreed with Pierre-Paul’s assessment.
“Why should they?” Harrison asked. “They’ve been able to run the ball with some consistency and until we stop the run I don’t think anybody will fear us.”
Jason Pierre-Paul says he’ll fight through a shoulder injury in Week 5.
(Ron Schwane/ASSOCIATED PRESS)
The Giants have allowed an average of 142.8 yards per game, the fifth-most in the league through the first four weeks of the season.
But their problems extend beyond simply stopping the run. They continue to struggle with tackling, have a knack for allowing explosive plays and in two consecutive weeks they were spotted a fourth quarter lead but failed to hold it.
The issues are unexpected for a team that has returned almost its entire personnel from such a successful season last year, but defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has faith the Giants can turn things around quickly after allowing the players to run the film review meeting this week.
“The important thing wasn’t what I saw or what I was willing to do,” Spagnuolo said. “It was what they saw and what they were willing to do. The only way I knew whether we were on the same page or not was to let them run it and hear what they said.”
Spagnuolo called the meeting a success, saying that they are all on the same page and the players agreed.
“To stand up and tell your teammates I messed up on this play or I could have done something better on this play. That means the world,” Harrison said.
“Guys know what they did wrong,” Pierre-Paul added. “I think at this point we just need to come out and execute and win a game.”