EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** Two years ago, a back injury hampered Jason Pierre-Paul so significantly he had 10 fewer sacks than he did in 2011. Last season, still feeling the effects of his June back surgery, JPP finished with just 2.0 sacks and missed the final five games with a shoulder injury.
"I feel great," Pierre-Paul said following an organized team activity – a fancy term for spring practice – this week. "I've been running. I feel good. Nothing's been bothering me, so that's a good thing.
"I'm definitely at full-go. I'm out there practicing with the team and nothing's affecting me, so I'm good."
Pierre-Paul has all but deleted the 2013 season from his memory bank.
"It's behind me," he said. "It's a whole new year. I barely played last year. I wasn't at 100 percent. It is what it is. That was last year. This is a new season, new faces. I'm ready to get out there and show everybody."
The Giants believe Pierre-Paul can again be one of the NFL's very best defensive ends in 2014. With Justin Tuck having taken his talents to Oakland as a free agent, JPP and nine-year veteran Mathias Kiwanuka are expected to start. Offseason acquisition Robert Ayers and second-year pro Damontre Moore should be part of the rotation.
But it's Pierre-Paul who can make the biggest impact, not only with consistent harassment of opposing quarterbacks but also by helping to fill the leadership void created by Tuck's departure.
"I'm already a leader," Pierre-Paul said. "I've been that since my second year. That's basically it. People look up to me on this team and I've just got to show them what I can do and they all follow in my footsteps."
JPP said his weight is down to 275 pounds.
"My weight's good," Pierre-Paul said. "I'm out there running and nothing's bothering me, so I'm in pretty good shape."
Then the Giants' defensive end situation should be as well.