Jason Pierre-Paul has gone from back problems to just plain old back.
The defensive end who is the Giants’ most dynamic playmaker on the defensive front will play against the Cowboys in Sunday night’s opener at AT&T Stadium. Pierre-Paul underwent back surgery this spring and was always projected to be ready for the opener, but he was coy this week even as he participated in team practices. An hour and a half before kickoff, Pierre-Paul was announced as one of the Giants’ active players. He was officially listed as questionable.
How much he’ll play will be seen. Pierre-Paul said he would prefer not to be a part-time player and come in only on third downs. But he has also not played in any preseason games and missed most of the preseason. Conditioning, he said earlier this week, would be an issue for him.
Pierre-Paul has had some impressive games in Dallas in his career. Two years ago he blocked a game-tying field goal attempt in the final moments to preserve a Giants win. Last year he intercepted a pass from Tony Romo and returned it for a touchdown.
“JPP’s one of the best defensive players in the league,” Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said this week when Pierre-Paul’s availability was still up in the air. “If he’s not full strength, I still think he can be effective. If he’s full strength, yes, he’s definitely effective. He’s had good games in Dallas … He’s looked better and better each day.”
Also active for the Giants are FB Henry Hynsoki (knee) and WR Victor Cruz (heel). The inactives include three players who were already ruled out – C David Baas (knee), G David Diehl (thumb) and TE Adrien Robinson (foot) – plus QB Ryan Nassib, DT Johnathan Hankins, DE Damontre Moore and DE Adewale Ojomo.
On the Cowboys’ side, DE Anthony Spencer (knee) is inactive which should alleviate some of the pressure on rookie Justin Pugh who is starting in his first game at right tackle. George Selvie will start in his place.