Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images
DONALD PENN VISITING GIANTS…
The NFL Network reports that unrestricted free agent offensive tackle Donald Penn (Oakland Raiders) is visiting the New York Giants on Tuesday. (LATE UPDATE: Penn will now reportedly be visiting the Giants later this week). Penn and the Raiders are apparently in a contract stalemate.
The 32-year old Penn was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Minnesota Vikings after the 2006 NFL Draft. He has played for the Vikings (2006), Buccaneers (2006-2013), and Raiders (2014-2015). For the past eight seasons, Penn has not missed a game and been a starter in every contest. He’s a very solid pass protector and run blocker at left tackle.
JASON PIERRE-PAUL CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul addressed the press by conference call on Tuesday.
Q: Jason, obviously you had the offseason procedure which helped your grip and strength in that hand and I know you posted some workout videos. How do you expect that to help you on the field this year?
A: We just have to wait and see. I am doing everything that needs to be done to help [get] my game to the next level.
Q: How excited are you about the free agency additions that were made in the last week here?
A: I am just excited that I have a chance to play football, man. Do what I love to do, come back to New York and play one year and show the fans and show everyone in the organization that Jason Pierre Paul can still play some ball.
Q: It looked like you were able to close your hand better [based on your workout video]. Are you finding that [to be true] now that you are a couple weeks removed from your surgery and do you feel that you still have a ways to go with that?
A: I am doing everything possible to get my hand in the best position to play football. I am still doing rehab to this day even when I go back to New York I will still be doing rehab. I am going to be doing rehab for the rest of my life but it is nowhere close where I need it to get right now but at the end of the day it will be before the season starts but I am capable of lifting weight and closing and gripping and all that so it turned out pretty well – my surgery turned out pretty well.
Q: When Olivier [Vernon] joined the team he said that he spoke with you. What kind of advice and encouragement did you give him in his first season with the Giants?
A: He asked me about the organization and how do I feel about … what was it … how do I feel about the organization and the team? I said look, “At the end of the day if you come here you are going to be going to be coming to a great organization and we do everything the right way here.” It was just a brief talk. I didn’t even convince him of signing or anything. It was just a brief talk with him, we talked for like 30 minutes and he made the decision the next day so he is part of the team now and I am excited. That was basically it.
Q: Is it a reassuring feeling for you having a player of his caliber on the other side to help generate some pressure?
A: At the end of the day, I am more worried about myself. It starts with yourself first when you play football. You have to do all the right things and put yourself in the best position before the season starts. I think a person of his caliber is going to get the job done – even Robert Ayers [isn’t] with us anymore but he did a great job too so it is all about the person and what they bring to the team so with these news guys that we got I am happy that we got them and now it is time to do work.
Q: In 2014, you guys brought in a lot of new faces, and by the end of that year some of the guys were saying that the chemistry was the biggest challenge getting everyone on the same page and building that family atmosphere. Since you were around that year are there any lessons you can take from that as far as going into this offseason and building that chemistry quicker?
A: We have a whole new team. We have a whole new team, new coaching staff so basically we have to feel for each other but that is what training camp and OTAs and mini camps are for – for guys to build chemistry. We can’t wait too late to build that chemistry, we have to do it right away. Every face is going to be new, the team is different but we all have the same goals.
Q: When you signed, you said that you felt that New York was the place to be. What is it about New York that appealed to you so much?
A: First of all, I have only been in New York so it is hard to go somewhere for one year and try to learn the system and all of that, so I decided that I would stay for that particular reason and New York has the best fans in the world. If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere so I wasn’t really too much worried about me going anywhere and trying to make it because I know what kind of player I am. But as far as that, that was basically what decision I came upon and I feel like I had unfinished business to do. I didn’t have a full 16-game season last year. It was cut short to eight games but I returned in the final eight games and I was playing pretty well but I know what I am capable of doing on the field and how much I change the defense when I am around. I am more excited of actually getting in during training camp and OTAs and minicamp and actually starting on time and proving – well not really proving to anybody because I always prove to myself because I am doing things now that people said I couldn’t be doing – but just finishing what I started. I am already training and coming in and having a full training camp and getting into the season the very first game. When I step on the field in that first game I have to achieve everything that I want to achieve and I have to stay healthy and play the whole 16 games which I should be.
Q: I don’t want to put words in your mouth but you keep referring to: “I haven’t shown what I am capable of doing.” In terms of using a benchmark, is it fair to say that the 2011 season is what you are capable of doing?
A: That 2011 season is so old I am tired of people talking about it. That was a whole different team; we have a whole [new] team, whole new faces on this team. Like I said, each year you only get better and like I said, my season was cut short last year but I am doing what I have to do to get back to where I was at so I am not looking at 2011, I am looking at the 2015 season and only I can tell what is going to happen so you just have to wait and see. We have a whole new team and starting with myself I have to be that guy that is on that line and is going to produce so I am doing everything that is possible on my end to make me a better player so I am going to have no regrets.
Q: As far as on the field and transitioning from the club to the glove. Have you decided what you would like to use or what is going to feel best for you?
A: I can use whatever I want – whatever makes me feel comfortable. Like I said before, I am not going to use a club next year. If I feel like I want to I can but my hand can be perfectly fine and I have said that multiple times so this should be a question that shouldn’t be asked anymore.
Q: But what in your mind gives you the most comfort?
A: You are just going to have to wait and see. You are just going to have to wait and see.
Q: Do you expect to be a full participant at the OTAs and the mini camps and all of those things and are you having anymore surgeries on the hand?
A: I am expected to be there and I am going to be on time for everything. Anything can happen at any given moment so as of right now I am planning on being there and showing my face and being with the team on April 11th to on out so we just have to wait and see. Anything can happen, man.