Justin Tuck (right) believes his former teammate Jason Pierre-Paul (left) will be fine in 2015.
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Former New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck has been in close contact with Jason Pierre-Paul since his old teammate was injured on July 4. While many have wondered if the young pass-rusher will be able to return to form after losing his right index finger, Tuck isn’t worried at all.
Having been Pierre-Paul’s mentor since the younger player entered the league in 2010, Tuck is among the few who have been included into Pierre-Paul’s inner circle after the accident.
Tuck told reporters he’s been in constant contact with Pierre-Paul and insists there will be no drop-off in production when Pierre-Paul returns to action.
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“He’ll be the first one to tell you he made a mistake. He’s fine. He’s going to have a great year, Tuck said, via Jordan Raanan of NJ.com. “I think he will be [successful]. Once he gets used to playing again, you can’t deny his athletic ability. He’s a terror to block. Hopefully everything else gets healthy around him and if that is the case, I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be the JPP of the second half of the season like he was last year.”
Tuck isn’t the only one who expects to see great things from JPP this year, either.
“I’ve seen him do some ridiculous things with 10 fingers, I’m sure he can do some ridiculous things with nine fingers,” said linebacker Mark Herzlich, who also seemed to think Pierre-Paul had been in contact with the team. “He’s going to be able to.”
When healthy, Pierre-Paul has proven himself worthy of being discussed among the game’s best. With 16.5 sacks in 2011 and 12.5 last year, his value cannot be denied as it pertains to getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
Injuries have been a stumbling block in the past, as his 2013 season shows, but his ability to bounce back the next season should be encouraging for Giants fans.
New York needs Pierre-Paul to return to form.
Damontre Moore and rookie Owamagbe Odighizuwa both have the potential to provide terrific pressure off the edge, but the Giants don’t feature a lot of depth in terms of edge-rushers beyond those two youngsters. Cullen Jenkins is a run-stuffer and Robert Ayers’ best days are behind him.
Without a healthy and productive Pierre-Paul terrorizing quarterbacks, New York will struggle to consistently harass them, and the secondary isn’t equipped to handle constant barrages through the air.
Tuck’s report is encouraging. As anyone who has recovered from a major surgery can tell you, the mental approach to recovery is more important even than the physical side. With a positive mindset, Pierre-Paul should be well on his way to returning to the gridiron this season.