EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.** – Jason Pierre-Paul leads the Giants with 3.5 sacks. If he matches that in the second half of the season, he will finish with 7.0, which would be the second-highest total of his five-year career.
But 7.0 sacks would give him 15.5 for the three seasons from 2012-14 – or one less than he had in his breakout season in 2011. JPP did miss the final five games of the 2013 season with a shoulder injury. But it's become apparent the Giants expect more from their marquee defensive end and former first-round draft choice, starting Sunday, when they will attempt to break their three-game losing streak in Seattle.
During his bye week news conference last week, general manager Jerry Reese said, "JPP has looked like his old self so far this season, but I think he is a better player than he is playing right now."
In the loss Monday night to Indianapolis, Pierre-Paul was credited with two tackles (one solo), a quarterback hit and a pass defensed. "I thought Jason played hard," coach Tom Coughlin said Tuesday. "He just didn't get a lot done."
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, asked a generic question about the defensive line today, responded in part by saying, "If we can get Jason Pierre-Paul to play his normal productive football, then that would definitely help us."
Pierre-Paul was one of the NFL's best defensive players in 2011, when he had 16.5 sacks as a second-year pro, the fourth-highest total in franchise history. He followed that with 6.0 sacks in 2012 and just 2.0 in his abbreviated 2013 season.
JPP was asked today if it is unfair to expect another 16.5-sack season.
"At the end of the day, people have high expectations for me," he said. "I have to live up to it. As far as that, that is in the past. I am always looking to get better and to better myself, to see where I can improve at as a defensive end. That is what I am looking for."
Coughlin was asked the same question.
"Twelve would be nice, thanks," Coughlin said. "No, I mean, he knows. He looks at it. He was very explosive in practice and sometimes is not as explosive in games. We're trying like heck to work with his technique a little bit more to give him a little bit of an edge. That's basically where we are."
Is it a technique thing?
"I think it is," Coughlin said. "I think sometimes he doesn't get the jump on the ball that I've seen him get. It kind of all goes together."
Pierre-Paul has sacks in just two games this season. He had 1.5 against Arizona in Week 2 and 2.0 in Dallas on Oct. 19.
"That is in the past," Pierre-Paul said of the Cowboys game. "It is one game at a time now. I am my biggest critic. If I am doing something wrong, anybody can approach me and tell me I am doing this wrong, doing that wrong and I will listen to them. That is the type of guy I am. I already know last game I didn't play as well as I should've played, that is on me."
JPP said he is doing what he can to be more productive.
"When I look at film of myself, I look at how fast I am getting off the ball, am I reading the tackle, if I am reading the ball fast enough," he said. "Last game, I saw a lot of mistakes I did on my part that I could have played way better than what I did last game. Coming off a bye week, I could've played much better."
Pierre-Paul was asked if he has reviewed tape from 2011, when he was a dominant force in a season that ended with a Giants Super Bowl victory.
"No, I don't look back," he said. "We've got totally different players on this team. It was different back then. Each year, you've got new players on the team, and you have to learn how to work with them, and execute with them.
"That was three years ago, right? Yeah, three years ago. No, I am looking to get better now. That is my main goal."
It's one he shares with the Giants.