NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, October 29, 2015, 5:29 PM
Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo isn’t planning on having JPP back soon.
Yes, Jason Pierre-Paul made swift progress on Thursday, working through defensive line drills and drawing cheers from his teammates on the practice field in just his second day back with the Giants after months away.
But no, Steve Spagnuolo isn’t letting his mind run wild. The defensive coordinator said that he hasn’t started building a plan around JPP just yet, and he’s in no hurry to plug the defensive end back into his ‘D’-line rotation.
“It’s going to take a little while, it’s really early now,” Spagnuolo said. “We want to be optimistic, and I know he (Pierre-Paul) is too, but I think we want to be smart about it. We’ll just see where it goes.”
Pierre-Paul’s return has generated plenty of excitement in the locker room in East Rutherford, and JPP could very well be the missing pass-rushing piece in Spagnuolo’s overachieving defense of 2015. But he also could get hurt again, cautioned Spagnuolo. After all, he still hasn’t survived a full practice with the Giants.
“I think sometimes whether you’re coming back from injury, whatever — coming off suspension, PUP, whatever it is — sometimes it’s not the injury you have you’re worried about,” Spagnuolo said. “It’s something else. I think we’ve got to be careful of that.”
He added that Pierre-Paul would likely not return as a full-time starter at first.
“It’s hard to throw a guy out there and play 65 plays when you haven’t done anything for a long period of time,” Spagnuolo said. “We’ll see.”
But while Spagnuolo may be worried about Pierre-Paul’s health and conditioning, he has few concerns about the defensive end’s ability to pick up the new defensive system. Pierre-Paul missed all of OTAs, and many of the Giants needed that entire offseason training period to learn Spagnuolo’s complicated system.
Spagnuolo doesn’t see Pierre-Paul having that problem, he said, in part because defensive line coach Robert Nunn has been in touch with the pass-rusher since the summer.
“I think he fits right in,” Spagnuolo said of Pierre-Paul. “Football is football, and I don’t think we’ve changed all that much from the standpoint of the position he plays . . . So hopefully that learning curve won’t be too steep.”