Pierre-Paul makes solid season debut

Jason Pierre-Paul made his season debut in Tampa on Sunday.

The Giants pass-rush wasn't exactly electrifying in Week 9, but Jason Pierre-Paul raised some eyebrows with his play in the trenches. The star lineman, equipped with an oven-mit glove to protect his injured right hand, was rather productive in his first game back even if the statsheet didn't show his true impact. Pierre-Paul tallied two tackles and two quarterback hits, but used the speed rush to get around the edge and made Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston uncomfortable in the pocket.

There were a few times when Pierre-Paul was knocked back and out of position as it was clear that his strength and conditioning wasn't quite there after missing four months including training camp and the first half of the regular season. 

Despite hitting the practice field for the first time this past week, coaches and trainers were comfortable with Pierre-Paul's physical shape as he was training during the rehab process down in South Florida. The Giants defensive end has lost some muscle mass since his hand injury limited his ability to pump iron at full tilt over the past few months, but he hasn't lost a step since his fireworks mishap. 

The Giants limited the former USF's playing time in the first half to keep him fresh for the fourth quarter when the defensive line has a knack for wearing down this season. The Giants registered no sacks against Tampa Bay, but cruised to a 32-18 win. 

Coach Tom Coughlin told the Giants Beat on a conference call that he expects an expanded role for Pierre-Paul moving forward as Big Blue gets ready to face off against the undefeated Patriots at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.

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