New York Giants defensive end Robert Ayers understands that the return of Jason Pierre-Paul to the defensive line will mean a lot more on-one-on matchups for him at left defensive end. In an ideal scenario, Ayers will man the left end and Pierre-Paul will play at right end. Ayers was excited to hear Pierre-Paul is back at the facility, and he doesn't think that the veteran will be rusty in the early going.
Reporters who met with Ayers on Monday asked the defensive end in his second year with the Giants just how hard it will be for Pierre-Paul to bounce back to form:
"That's like asking me, 'How hard will it be for a Ferrari to get going?'," Ayers responded, per Big Blue Interactive. "Again, that's what he is. I view him as a well-oiled machine."
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Pierre-Paul first met with Giants doctors for his physical on Monday, and later in the day he met with several members of the front office and coaching staff. There is still the issue of Pierre-Paul's 2015 contract that needs to be worked out. The Giants are looking to renegotiate the $14.8 million it would cost to allocate the franchise tag his way.
Pierre-Paul also missed all of the Giants' spring practices as the team installed a brand new defensive scheme under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Ayers doesn't believe that Pierre-Paul's missed time will hinder him in that regard.
"He's a very smart guy, so I can't tell you how long it's going to take for him to get things going. He's going to do everything he can to get ready. Some guys learn faster than others. I'm not the smartest fish in the barrel myself. So he may catch on, be right there. But I definitely expect him, whenever he's ready, to be full-tilt and to give it his all, and do whatever it takes for him to be ready. That's the one thing I can promise you, he's going to prepare. The results, we're going to see."
There has been a lot of speculation about what Pierre-Paul can bring to the table now that he's missing his right index finger. For some defensive ends, hand usage is a key factor in their ability to win one-on-one matchups against an opposing offensive tackle. In Pierre-Paul's case, Ayers is not sure that this will have a major impact on his overall game.
"If you watch JPP and truly study him, he's not a big grab guy. You've got some guys who rush the passer and play the run that push, pull, grab guys like that. But JPP is so powerful, sometimes he just lifts guys without grabbing them. So for his game, the way he plays, and the way I study him and see the things he does -- I think he'll be alright.
"But a lot of injuries is the mental part of it. Like for me, for example, dealing with an ankle or whatever, you have to get over the mental part and teach yourself that you're okay. I think once he does that, once he feels comfortable, I think he'll be the same JPP that we have all grown to love and see."
Ayers and Pierre-Paul make for a bookend defensive end duo with a lot more upside than people realize. Both ends created a lot of pressure overall in 2014, even if it didn't show up in the sacks column. It's great news for Pierre-Paul and the Giants to see his teammates rallying around his return.
(h/t Big Blue Interactive)