Thursday, April 22, 2010

Osi Going Nowhere

Jerry Reese wouldn't even let the question be asked. He just volunteered the answer.

Now that the Giants have freakishly put-together defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul of South Florida, they still have no designs of moving disgruntled defensive end Osi Umenyiora. Not now, not later.

"We're going to put (Pierre-Paul) right into the mix with our other four defensive ends," the general manager said. "We're not trading Osi, so you don't even have to ask that question. I know that's on everybody's mind. We're not trading Osi.

"We're excited about the defensive end we have. Pass rushers. You've got to rush the passer in this league, as we all know. And I think Jason's going to do a tremendous job helping us."

Reese, Tom Coughlin, and director of college scouting Marc Ross all said they researched the 6-4 1/2, 270-pound Pierre-Paul well, including whether he's smart enough to pick up the intracacies of an NFL playbook in a progressively steady manner. They said that's not an issue, given the psychological and strategic testing they put him through, but there is a perception that Pierre-Paul's limited and well-traveled college experience make him a boom-or-bust candidate.

At least on the outside of the Timex Performance Center, that's what makes Umenyiora a valuable keeper right now. Assuming he regains the pass-rush skills that his comeback from 2008 knee surgery eroded last season, the Giants may need Umenyiora as well as Mathias Kiwanuka -- heading into the final year of his contract -- to keep the pressure up while Pierre-Paul learns.

Reese said several teams did call about trading for Umenyiora, but the Giants never came close to trading him. Nor, Reese said, did they seriously consider moving up to get an offensive talent like Clemson RB C.J. Spiller, who went to Buffalo at No. 9, or the popular pre-draft pick, Alabama LB Rolando McClain, who went the pick before Spiller to Oakland.

So now the Giants have five defensive ends, the newest of which didn't play football until his high school coach coaxed the junior basketball star onto the team for a playoff game. Since then, Pierre-Paul spent 2007 at the College of the Canyons, where he led the junior college ranks with 14 sacks, and 2008 at Fort Scott (Kan.) C0mmunity College, where he recorded 10 1/2 sacks. He finally landed at South Florida in 2009 and responded with a 16-sack season.

Umenyiora probably won't be real happy to see his new unit-mate. But Coughlin wasn't worried about the defensive end surplus, especially since he considers Pierre-Paul a potential inside-outside player like Justin Tuck.

"That's a good thing," Coughlin said of the positional logjam. "It's play now. Everybody's going to have a chance to contribute. We didn't rush the passer very well last year, so let's go back to doing the things we did a couple of years ago. Let's stop talking and go play."

We'll soon see if Umenyiora takes that advice. He probably should, since it doesn't look like he's going anywhere.


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