EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Jason Pierre-Paul will make his 2015 debut tomorrow at Tampa Bay, giving the Giants' pass rush and the entire defense a much-needed boost.
The Giants today added Pierre-Paul to their active roster. They were granted a two-game roster exemption when he reported to the team last week, but decided he is ready to play after watching him in practice all week.
To create room on the roster, the Giants placed linebacker Jon Beason on injured reserve. Beason has injuries to his knee and ankle. He played in five games, making this the second consecutive year the defensive captain's season has been cut short by injury.
The Giants also signed cornerback Tramain Jacobs off their practice squad and waived defensive tackle Louis Nix.
Pierre-Paul will play for the first time since Dec. 28, 2014, when he had 2.0 sacks among his five tackles in a season–ending loss to Philadelphia. That increased his team-high total to 12.5, which was 7.0 sacks more than runner-up Damontre Moore.
The 4-4 Giants need an infusion of JPP's pass rush ability. They are last in the NFL with nine sacks in eight games. The defense has also allowed league-high totals of 427.5 total yards per game, 315.4 passing yards, and 196 total first downs. A two-time Pro Bowler, Pierre-Paul should provide instant help on the defensive front, even if the Giants initially limit him to part-time duty. He joins a defensive end rotation that includes Robert Ayers Jr. George Selvie, Kerry Wynn and Moore, plus Cullen Jenkins, who will presumably take more snaps at his listed tackle position with JPP on the field.
Check out photos of JPP's career as a New York Giant
Pierre-Paul was previously unavailable after suffering serious injuries to his right hand, including the loss of his index finger, in a Fourth of July fireworks accident. While recovering from his wounds, Pierre-Paul diligently rehabbed and worked out near his Florida home. He was cleared to return to the field last week.
Beason missed the season's first two games with a knee injury. He made his 2015 debut vs. Washington on Sept. 24, and had five tackles the following week in Buffalo.
On Oct. 11, Beason suffered a concussion in the first quarter of the Giants' victory over San Francisco. Two weeks later, he had a season-high 11 tackles (seven solo) against Dallas. But he hurt his ankle in that game, and continues to have issues with his knee.
Last year, Beason hurt his toe during a workout in June. He played in four games before going on injured reserve on Oct. 29. Beason subsequently underwent surgery to repair his foot/toe injury.
This is the fifth time in six seasons dating back to when he was with Carolina in 2011 that Beason will play no more than five games. The exception was 2013, the year he was acquired by the Giants in a trade, when he played in 12 games.
Jacobs has been on the practice squad since Sept 15. The 5-11, 187-pounder entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with the Baltimore Ravens on May 5, 2014, from Texas A&M. He was waived on Aug. 30, and signed two days later to the Ravens' practice squad. Jacobs joined Baltimore's active roster on Nov. 14 and played in three games before he was placed on injured reserve on Dec. 6. The Ravens waived Jacobs on Aug. 31 of this year. Jacobs played in Baltimore for Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
Nix has been with the Giants since Sept. 9. He played in four games as a reserve defensive tackle and on special teams, but did not have a tackle. Nix was inactive each of the previous three games.
In addition to those players who were yesterday listed as out for tomorrow's game -- Prince Amukamara (pectoral), Victor Cruz (calf), Larry Donnell (neck) and J.T. Thomas (ankle) -- the only other player on the 53-man roster not making the trip to Tampa was Leon McFadden, who was downgraded to out with a groin injury.