The season has yet to start, and the Giants defense has lost two key players: Defensive End, Jason Pierre-Paul and Safety, Will Hill.
Big Blue’s D is traditionally their strength as a team. And although these losses may only affect the beginning of this upcoming season, will the damage be too much to come back from.
As a three-year veteran, JPP went to his second Pro Bowl last season, but overall took a step backwards playing-wise. His stats, especially at the sacks – where he excelled in during the 2011 season – dropped way lower than fans would have liked to see.
JPP said he was experiencing lower back pain, and underwent surgery in early June. His doctors estimated that he would need a 12-week recovery. But now with the season is approaching, JPP is saying he is not sure if he will be ready for the opener.
“I’m not concentrating on the first game, the second game, the third game the fourth game,” JPP told The Star-Ledger. “I’m just trying to come back when I Feel like I’m ready to come back.”
Add to that, he says there is “no timetable” for a return and he only feels 75% at this point, you should not count on him being ready. Although Head Coach Tom Coughlin believes he will be ready for the first game, I think the defense should start prepping to play without him.
If losing your best DE wasn’t enough, second-year player Will Hill is suspended – again. This marks his second, four-game suspension in his short two-year career.
His first suspension came last season when he violated the leagues performance-enhancing drug policy – in which he was tested positive for Adderall. The new suspension will be enacted when the season starts and will last for four games. This one is for violating the leagues substance-abuse policy.
Hill may technically be a “backup,” but he is a presence when he is on the field. The Giants secondary is its Achilles Heel. But in his rookie season, he has shown potential to change that. He hits hard, he hustles hard and he has a great nose for the ball. Whether it was on special teams or defense, you would hear “number 38, Will Hill, with the stop.” And he was able to showcase his talent as a back up and a shortened season due to his violation.
The good news, and bad news, in either case is that these guys are young.
The good news for JPP is that he is young, so if he does recover properly and regain all his strength in his lower back now, it shouldn’t be a problem in the future. The bad news is that it is back surgery. It is a tricky scenario; the spine controls the rest of your body, so if your back is bad the rest of you won’t work so well.
Plus, if someone is this injury-prone now, whose to say he wont have damage elsewhere down the road.
The good news for Hill is that he will only miss the first four games, and four games in a young career, albeit nothing to sneeze at, is not the end of the world. The bad news is this is his second, drug-related suspension in two years. And he hasn’t played a down in his second season.
These two players are amazingly talented and any team would be lucky to have them. However, Giants’ fans should be worried about these guys. Not in the immediate future: yeah, it sucks they’ll miss the first few games but they will be back. But the worry should be for seasons to come.
Young guys with drug and injury problems should be examined closely. They’re like a cancer. If the problem is benign, no worries. But if it’s persistent, get it out before it does damage.