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Giants’ GM mulls loss of Pierre-Paul

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The Sports Xchange

EAST RUTHERFORD, N. J. — While the New York Giants continue to have the best interests of defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul at heart, general manager Jerry Reese said the team is going to focus on what it has and go from there.

Speaking to reporters as part of his annual training camp press briefing, Reese said he “wished nothing but the best” for the 26-year-old defensive end who, according to various reports, suffered significant flesh burns and lost his right index finger in a July 4 fireworks accident

“It was a traumatic situation that was an accident,” Reese said, before declining to address any follow-up questions regarding any communication between the team and its franchise player.

“Plenty of people have opinions about it, but my heart goes out to him. For a young man to have a traumatic event in his life, one that is life-changing for him, I hope and pray for the best for him. I hope that he is healing mentally and physically and that he can be back to himself as soon as possible”

Still, the loss of Pierre-Paul, who last year led the team in sacks with 12.5, leaves a significant void for the Giants to fill in defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s new system, one that relies heavily on the pass rush.

The Giants, who already had one open spot at defensive end after releasing Mathias Kiwanuka earlier this year, will be looking at a group that includes veterans George Selvie, a free agent acquisition this year; Damontre Moore; Robert Ayers Jr.; rookie Owa Odighizuwa, the team’s third-round draft pick this year; Kerry Wynn and Jordan Stanton as their candidates.

“We have five defensive ends that we feel like can play at a high level,” Reese said. “So we think our defense is going to be a better unit than it was last year, and I’m excited to see them play.”

The problem with that group is that none has the star-power of a Pierre-Paul. In fact, the defensive ends who were on the roster last year — Wynn, Ayers and Moore — combined for 12 sacks, a half sack less than Pierre-Paul’s total.

Still, Reese doesn’t seem overly concerned that lacking someone with the star power of a Pierre-Paul will be a detriment to the pass rush, and in fact sees it as a golden opportunity for the other guys to step up and become the Giants’ next defensive pass-rushing star.

“This is what the NFL is about. You have an injury and someone can step out of the shadows and do something great,” Reese said.

“It’s a great opportunity for more guys to step out of the shadows at that position and do that. We have some guys that have been around for a while — Damontre Moore is a guy that sticks out in my mind. There are more guys at that position that we like and that we think can shore up that position for us.”

They better. With the Giants having missed the playoffs three years in a row, team co-owner John Mara has not backed down from his expectations of the football operations.

“The pressure is always there,” Reese said. “It’s the NFL; every year is a different year regardless if you make the playoffs. It’s a pressure-filled profession and a high-performance business and we relish the challenge.”


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