Jason Pierre-Paul, the enigmatic sack artist for the G-Men, has been nothing short of a force on the defensive line, when healthy. Unfortunately for the Giants, Pierre-Paul hasn't been very healthy in recent time. Overcoming back surgery, as well as shoulder and ankle injuries has decimated the play of the back-flipping pass rusher.
Yeah, I'm definitely at full-go," Pierre-Paul told reporters at OTAs. "I'm out there practicing with the team and nothing's affecting me so I'm good."
After a breakout 2011 campaign, where Pierre-Paul accumulated 16.5 sacks and 65 tackles, he has struggled to duplicate the success, attaining only 8.5 sacks and 63 tackles in the following two seasons combined. This is mostly attributed to a combination of Pierre-Paul playing through injuries, and not having the opportunity to rest properly and play the game at 100 percent health.
Now, in 2014, Pierre-Paul looks fresh and ready to go for the first time in two seasons.
When asked how close he is to returning to his 2011 form, Pierre-Paul was optimistic on his return.
"I'm already feeling like it," noted the Giants' star defensive end. "My weight, like I said, my weight's good. I'm out there running and nothing's bothering me, so I'm in pretty good shape."
Now, at a leaner, more defined 275 pounds, Pierre-Paul will now have the ability to display more explosiveness that attributed to his All-Pro success.
The potential is there for JPP, as for the first time in what feels like decades, the Giants will have an elite secondary, taking the pressure of of Pierre-Paul and company. The additions of Rodgers-Cromartie, Walter Thurmond along with Prince Amukamara already manning one slot will be a huge factor for the success of the Giants' pass rush. The improved secondary play will help establish coverage sacks, giving the Giants line more time to get to the passer.
The Giants have always been known for their pass rush. From Lawrence Taylor to Michael Strahan to Osi Umenyiora, the team has made it's wealth off of its ability to get to the passer, making the job for the rest of the defense easier. In the modern NFL, teams are throwing the ball around more than ever. In order to establish a pass rush, the secondary play must play a role in developing the pass rush. When asked if Pierre Paul faced pressure without having another star across the defensive line to help him get to the quarterback, the fourth year pro was open and honest.
"I don't feel pressure," offered Pierre-Paul.
Why? Because the secondary looks to create chaos and give the pass rush time to roam free and get to the Quarterback. JPP is back and ready to go.