Giants key pass-rusher ailing after practice crash

579500.jpg

Giants key pass-rusher ailing after practice crash

FOXBORO - The Patriotstopic du semaine has been the Giants devastating pass rush. You may remember it well. The Giants may have taken an unexpected personnel hit on Thursday though. Jason Pierre-Paul, who leads the Giants with 8.5 sacks, injured his neck during practice.

Pierre-Paul sat out Friday's practice. Also watching were wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, who hasn't practiced all week, and Ahmad Bradshaw. So the Giants may be without their leading receiver, running back and pass rusher. Could be a boon for New England, but the Steelers didn't have James Harrison, James Farrior and Hines Ward last week and things worked OK for them. Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick lauded Pierre-Paul, a second-year player out of South Florida. "We played against him in last year in preseason and just from last year to this year he's improved," said Belichick. "He's a great talent. He's long, very athletic, fast, quick. He's got good power. He runs well. He makes plays in pursuit. But from a technique standpoint, just overall understanding, recognizing draws, screens, the different pass sets, those kind of things. You can see he's made a lot of improvement over the last year."The Giants took Pierre-Paul with the 15th overall pick last year. Belichick was just getting warmed up with his raving with those opening statements.

"He's a good football player," Belichick added. "He's very disruptive. They play him everywhere too. Which is another sign that when you move a player around he must be catching on fairly well. He plays on our left side, on our right side, plays inside. ....He's a very disruptive player and they put him in a lot of different spots. When you come out of the huddle offensively, you're not sure where he's gonna be. There's not a lot of defensive lineman you can say that about. Usually they play one spot, maybe two, but he can pretty much be anywhere."Makes you wonder if the Patriots might have been interested in Pierre-Paul if he was on the board when they chose. Then you remember they don't draft guys who rush the passer and dismiss the notion entirely.
.AOLWebSuite .AOLPicturesFullSizeLink height: 1px; width: 1px; overflow: hidden; .AOLWebSuite a color:blue; text-decoration: underline; cursor: pointer .AOLWebSuite a.hsSig cursor: default

Bart Scott: Falcons have 'the better quarterback' in Super Bowl

Bart Scott: Falcons have 'the better quarterback' in Super Bowl

Former Ravens and Jets linebacker - now an "NFL Today" analyst for CBS - Bart Scott usually "can't wait" to make his disdain for Tom Brady and the Patriots known. 

He was back at it Tuesday in an interview with CBS Radio's Damon Amendolara, in which he said the Falcons have the better quarterback heading into Super Bowl LI.

“We know they’re the better offense, and right now, you could say they got the better quarterback because they have the MVP of the league,” Scott said. Ryan is the favorite to win the NFL MVP, which will be announced the night before the Super Bowl at the "NFL Honors" show.

“Now that’s a debate, but Matt Ryan has earned the right for his name to be put up there with the upper-echelon quarterbacks," Scott said. "He’s always been elite in the regular season, but now he’s taken this show into the postseason and he’s won the hard battles against the elite quarterbacks and now you have to give him his due.”

More from Scott: “I can’t see the Patriots stopping this offense. So, that means that these receivers are going to have to [keep] pace. It’s all going to come down to what it always comes down to. It’s going to come down to who makes the turnovers, who gets up early and puts the pressure on the other team. Matt Ryan and that offense showed me a lot when they went behind [in the divisional round against the Seahawks]. Seattle came and busted them in the face, and [Atlanta] went right back down and answered immediately.

"The Patriots always find a way, but I think it makes it more close of a game than what people think.”