The Giants’ fourth preseason game on Friday night against the Jets will be an important one. Not only is Big Blue still looking for a solid showing from its first team offense, but some players, like defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, see a game against the Jets as a chance to make a statement.
Although the two New York teams share a stadium, they only face each other in the regular season once every four years. Preseason matches such as this one inject a little extra excitement into the fan bases.
“We both are in New York and we want to know who the best team is,” said Pierre-Paul, “I say the Giants are. But as far as that, everybody’s going to be playing hard. The stadium will be packed and the crowd will be going wild or whatever.”
No one should be playing hard than Pierre-Paul. The fifth-year defensive end has been noticeably quiet during the first three preseason games and has a lot to prove heading into this week’s game against the Jets.
Injuries have been an issue for Pierre-Paul in the past, but with a clean bill of health, he’s looking to return to his 2011 form, when he recorded 16.5 sacks and led the Giants to a Super Bowl title.
“Every day I’m still working on my technique,” said Pierre Paul, “But as far as health wise I’m fine. I’m out there every day doing what I can. We’ve still got work to do as far as the front. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We have a couple weeks left and hopefully we’ll get it right.”
Last week was not a good showing for the Giants’ defense. The unit allowed the Colts to score on three drives of 50 yards or more in the first half. Pierre-Paul did not register a tackle in that game, but he insists that he shouldn’t be judged in the small sample size of the preseason.
“We only get 25 snaps, that’s not a realistic number for me to play, play hard in 25,” he explained, “You don’t get a feel of what the offensive tackle’s doing or the inside rusher. I’m not worried about sacks in the preseason. Wait a couple weeks and we’ll see.”
Giants fans probably aren’t too happy to have to wait to see Pierre-Paul sack an opposing quarterback. Perhaps he’ll get more playing time in the penultimate preseason game, when first team players typically get about one full half of playing time before yielding to the reserves.
“I think it’s a dress rehearsal game but I can’t speak for anybody else but myself,” said Pierre-Paul, “When I go out there I make sure my technique is right, how I’m rushing the passer, check my footwork out when I watch film and watch the tackles to see what they’re doing, if I was late off the ball or whatever. I just watch myself. Then I watch my whole D-line to see who is getting late off the ball or whatever. If I see something wrong I tell them. That’s just basically it.”