Pierre-Paul has big game just before Umenyiora's return

Maybe now we have a clear idea why the New York Giants haven’t been interest in caving to contract demands made by Osi Umenyiora.

The team believes it’s got solid depth at defensive end. For one night in the preseason it certainly did.

Jason Pierre-Paul put on a display in the opener Saturday night at Carolina, registering two sacks against Panthers left tackle Jordan Gross and nearly notching a third. He also forced a bad throw that Michael Boley intercepted and returned 56 yards. It was a breakout performance for the team’s first-round draft pick from 2010.

"I thought I played pretty good," Pierre-Paul said, according to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. "I knew what I was supposed to do and I was just out there executing. I came out, and I wasn't nervous. I knew the play calls, and I caught on very well. I just felt good. It felt very good."

Pierre-Paul shined playing at right end, the position typically occupied by Umenyiora. The veteran had his knee checked out by a specialist last week and is expected to return to practice Monday for the first time in training camp. He hasn’t received the new deal or trade he sought.

With Pierre-Paul emerging, perhaps the Giants will have a big pass rush this season and be in position to deal Umenyiora before 2012. You never know.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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