Giants Notebook: Vereen, Pugh Close to Returning

The Giants may be close to getting RB Shane Vereen back. The veteran has been on injured reserve since tearing a biceps muscle in the Giants’ Week 3 loss to Washington and has been designated for return this week.The Giants have 21 days to activate him or he must remain on the injured reserve list for the remainder of the season. Vereen was an integral part of the Giants’ backfield leading the team in rushing with 147 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries at the time of his injury.

LG Justin Pugh (knee) suffered a setback last week when a defender rolled up on him at practice, sending him back to the sidelines. Pugh suffered a sprained MCL three weeks ago, interrupting what many were calling a Pro Bowl season for him. He was back practicing on Wednesday, albeit in a limited capacity. He has not ruled himself out for this week’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“I wouldn’t say no way for Sunday, but I wouldn’t say 100% I’m in for Sunday,” he said. “It’s really how my knee responds to going out and doing more and more. I know for sure I’m not going try and push it too much because I don’t want to keep having setbacks and missing extra weeks so I’m going to make sure I’m 100% and doing it the right way.”

JPP Named NFC Defensive Player of the Week

DE Jason Pierre-Paul was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Cleveland on Sunday. JPP compiled three sacks, returned a fumble for a TD and forced another. It was the fifth time this season a Giant has received a weekly honor. Safety Landon Collins has won twice, WR Odell Beckham Jr. won on offense and CB Janoris Jenkins won one on special teams. This is JPP’s fourth weekly award, placing him behind only Hall of Famers LB Lawrence Taylor (nine) and DE Michael Strahan (five) for most in Giants’ history.

“I think it’s very impressive the progress he’s made since you saw him come back last year to where he is now,” head coach Ben McAdoo said, “and the production he’s having, the success he’s having getting after the quarterback, in the run game as well, and also being able to come up with the loose ball the other day.”

Roethlisberger Praises Collins, Jenkins

Two-time Super Bowl champion Ben Roethlisberger, whose Steelers face the Giants this Sunday in Pittsburgh, is at the helm of an explosive offense. He has top talent all around him in RB Le’Veon Bell and WR Antonio Brown. But he’s under no illusions about the Giants’ defense, who has some top talent of their own.

Big Ben had nothing but praise for the revamped Giants secondary, anchored by safety Landon Collins and CB Janoris Jenkins.

“I think that Landon is maybe the defensive player of the year,” Big Ben said on a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. “The way that he is playing football right now is awesome – interceptions, sacks, tackles, PBUs, all of those things. He is a guy that is a force to be reckoned with, especially as a second-year guy. That is awesome and a compliment to him and his work and the way that he makes things happen in that secondary.”

“Obviously Jenkins is a guy that they brought over from St. Louis and expected big things and he is doing things. We anticipate him to travel with AB (Antonio Brown), he is locking guys down and even Eli (Apple), as a rookie, is playing really well also and then I am not really sure what is going on with 29 (Nat Berhe), if he is going to play or not with the injuries, but as a secondary, as a whole, they are playing really well.”

Berhe Back in Concussion Protocol

Speaking of Berhe, he is out again with another concussion and is likely headed to injured reserve. Behre left the field Sunday after sustaining a blow to the head making a tackle. He missed five games earlier this year to a concussion. The Giants have added S/LB Eric Pinkins to the active roster. Pinkins was a teammate of Berhe’s at San Diego State several years ago. He was waived by the Seattle Seahawks earlier this season.

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