By his own admission, Jason Pierre-Paul’s 2013 season was one to forget for the New York Giants. JPP missed five games due to injury—the bulk of the reason why he feels 2013 was such a down year for him.
2013 season was the worse season 4 me, INJURIES held me back. I've been working my butt off this OFF-SEASON I'm so ready for 2014 season.
— Jason Pierre Paul (@UDWJPP) March 30, 2014
Pierre-Paul underwent back surgery last June, and despite making it back to play in Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys, a shoulder injury in November further halted his 2013 season, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN.
Halted may be an understatement.
After racking up 16.5 sacks in 2011, JPP has a combined 8.5 sacks the past two seasons and hasn’t been as explosive as he was two years ago, with injuries hopefully being the culprit.
That said, many of us are wondering what 2014 holds for JPP.
While I do expect a healthy Pierre-Paul to hit the ground running this season, I haven’t set lofty expectations for the defensive end as others may have. A lot of that has to do with the fact that his counterpart—Justin Tuck—is no longer anchoring the other side of the defensive line for the Giants, meaning that JPP will likely see more double teams in 2014.
Mathias Kiwanuka and Damontre Moore are both suitable replacement for Tuck, but let’s face it–they’re not Justin Tuck.
While I do think New York’s defense gained a great deal of strength and depth this offseason—highlighted by the resigning of Jon Beason and the new signings of Jameel McClain and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie—the Giants have yet to do anything to bolster the defensive line.
With that, a lot of the weight is going to fall upon Pierre-Paul’s shoulders, and I think he’ll be expected to produce a lot more than he can.
I’m predicting somewhere in the 10-12 sack range for a hopefully healthy JPP this season. I definitely wouldn’t be surprised to see more production from him, but I’m not ready to declare him an obvious sack leader for the upcoming season.