Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
When Jason Pierre-Paul first stepped onto the NFL gridiron, he was a raging freak. JPP possessed the strength of Sandor Clegane, the agility of Oberyn Martell and the wingspan of a dragon. Jason’s rawness took a backseat to his unlimited potential for defensive line devastation. Living and breathing the motto, “Pass rush is King”, the Giants scooped him up at 15 overall in 2010 — blatantly ignoring the boatload of naysayers critical of his elementary football skill level gained at places such as the College of the Canyons in California, the Ford Scott Community College in Kansas and finally, South Florida University.
The Giants viewed his rookie campaign through the lens of his future development as a pass rush project. Nevertheless, his athleticism shined in those first 410 snaps, batting down six passes and hurrying the quarterback 16 times. The stars were aligned for a sophomore explosion from everyone’s favorite Giant.
Queue the emphatic boom. At 22 years of age, Pierre-Paul was the dominant force on a Super Bowl champion squad. He finished fourth in the NFL with 16.5 sacks and led all 4-3 defensive ends with 66 solo tackles. He was the 6th rated overall DE by Pro Football Focus, largely because of contributions like this:
Credit: NFL Game Rewind (Week 15, 2011)
In retrospect, perhaps the Giants rode him too hard too soon. He was on the field for 1,208 snaps in 2011. That’s triple the numbers from 2010. Remember Giants Nation… Jason Pierre-Paul played only ONE season of Division I college football. The high-level, down in, down out grind was foreign to JPP’s body in his Super Bowl winning monster season. Alas, his proficiency at getting after the QB has dropped alarmingly since, recording 6.5 sacks in 2012 and two in 2013. The same can be said for his overall bill of health which has patterned into a worrisome downward spiral. Take a look at his Career QB hurries:
- 2013 – 23
- 2012 – 43
- 2011 – 39
- 2010 – 16
While in 2012 Jason just wasn’t finishing, in 2013 he wasn’t even getting close. What caused the dip? Speculation points to health as the main culprit. Pierre-Paul underwent back surgery last summer prior to the 2013 season, and he was shut down after week 12 versus Dallas with a persistent shoulder injury — thankfully an offseason procedure wasn’t required for the latter. According the New York Post, JPP believes he can return to 2011 form:
"“I already feel like it. My weight’s good, I’m out there running and nothing’s bothering me so I’m in pretty good shape.”“I don’t feel pressure at all. I’m ready to get out there and do what I do best, sack the quarterback and stop the run. I’m ready to get out there and show everybody.”"
Is Jason Pierre-Paul ready to don the Giants armor? Is JPP prepared to bring down the QB’s of the world and hoist greatness again? Can you pray enough for Jason’s health? Really, Giants Nation would be well served to pray seven times per week, because quarterback hurries won’t do the trick for the Jints inexperienced line. Damontre Moore needs a mentor. An on-field mentor. Bring back the FREAK!
Is it football season yet?