Jason Pierre-Paul (USA Today Sports Images)
The electric edge rusher, who looked to be embarking on a Hall of Fame-like start to his career after his 16.5-sack 2011 season, has been in retrograde since. In Pierre-Paul's past 23 games since the Giants beat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl two seasons ago, he has a mere 7.5 sacks — including one this season in seven games.
JPP said he's trying whatever he can to rediscover his old self, per the New York Posts' Mark Cannizzaro.
“I’m going back and looking at old film from 2011 to see the simple things I’m missing in my game this year,’’ Pierre-Paul said Thursday. “I’m trying to get better — back to my old self.
“I see a whole different player from now. I’m not an opposing threat to [teams] how I used to be. Even though last year my numbers weren’t up [6.5 sacks], I still felt like I was that player before the surgery. But things just changed.’’
The surgery was to his back, and Pierre-Paul admitted that his fairly quick return to action has had an effect and that it would take a "full offseason" to return to pre-injury form.
Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said Pierre-Paul is also pressing to regain that level of play.
“He’s not playing to the standard he wants to play to, obviously,’’ Fewell said. “Everyone expects so much of him, he’s pressing. He’s trying to get there, but he’s just not there yet. We believe in him, and he’s got to believe in himself also.’’
Based on his further comments, it's clear that JPP's confidence isn't likely to suffer.
“I’m a great player,’’ Pierre-Paul said. “I’m one of the best defensive ends in the league. I know what I can do and what I can bring to my team when I’m healthy and I’m 100 percent. You leave me one-on-one long enough, you’re definitely going to feel sorry for yourself. It’s really going to take that whole offseason next year to get back to my old, old self. The old ‘JPP’ is not gone."
Giants fans hope he's right. Maybe this will be a one-year aberration for both team and superstar rusher.
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