Jason Pierre-Paul, perhaps the most athletic player on the New York Giants, if not the league, underwent back surgery early this June. The recovery and rehabilitation is estimated to take 12 weeks, theoretically having him ready for the opening game against Dallas.
But this is back surgery. This isn’t a strained muscle or broken bone. JPP is a machine. And like all machines, their frame needs to be flawless in order to run effectively.
JPP said in a statement, “My back has been bothering me for a while, and even last season I played through some back issues.” With a mediocre season at best last season, I hope that this is a legitimate excuse. For someone who was feared by QB’s the season before, his weak 6.5 sacks last season was an embarrassment.
No denying, JPP is dominant. His breakout season in 2011 showed this 6’5”, 275 lbs beast’s potential. 16.5 sacks, 72 tackles, and a safety in the Super Bowl. And, he single-handedly won the later game against Dallas – in Dallas – when the playoffs were on the line.
There is no turning back for JPP now. When playing DE for the Giants there is already an expectation to live up to. For years, the Giants have had arguably the best D-line in the NFL. But JPP went above and beyond all expectations, especially for someone who picked up football only a few years before he was drafted.
His 2010 season put him on the radar. But it was his Pro Bowl deserving season in 2011 that let the Giants flex some defensive muscle. There wasn’t anything this guy couldn’t do.
After a mediocre season last year – I’m still amazed he went to the Pro Bowl – this was an important upcoming season for JPP. It’s important for him to prove that he worth all the hype.
The Achilles Heel of the Giants as of late has been their defense. Don’t get me wrong, Chase Blackburn has been one of my favorite Giants since he was a one-man wrecking crew on special teams. But he is not a talented enough player to be a starting LB. But that’s the Giants problem. No LBs. They have talent in the secondary with Antrel Rolle and Stevie Brown (who I believe is one of the most underrated young talents). And on top of no LBs, their line is getting old, slow and has too many holes in it.
JPP was a player who made the whole team better. He may not have been the vocal leader – like Justin Tuck. But his 110 percent, balls-to-the-wall mentality made his fellow teammates play harder. Plus, just because of his name, teams tend to double-team him, freeing up another player.
But the defense looked sluggish and JV-like last season. JPP and Tuck both played embarrassingly at times, chasing the defender from behind and never staying home on the outside.
JPP, in his prime, looks like he’s in two places at once. He has a great nose for the ball, and is always close to the action. He can be one of the best Des to ever play the game. He has that much potential.
The Giants know better than to rush him. Don’t be surprised to see he won’t be ready for the Dallas game. He is one the Giants most valuable prospects, and should be treated as such.
He just better play like we’ve all seen him play when he comes back healthy.