EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- We might see the old Jason Pierre-Paul this year after all.
Two weeks after lamenting that he needs a whole offseason "to get back to the old JPP," Pierre-Paul talked bullishly about the second half of this season Wednesday.
"Honestly I feel good," Pierre-Paul said, following practice. "It’s been eight games, and I’d say I feel like 90 percent now. For those eight games, I’ve been playing (and thinking), 'How is my back gonna take this? How's it gonna feel?' I got to a point, I can't think about that. I gotta go out and play the game. I can’t think about getting hurt."
"I gotta go out and play this game like I know I can," Pierre-Paul added. "I've been studying myself for the past couple of games, and I’ve been doing pretty good. I went out there today, and I’m turning the edge pretty good now. I feel good, and I feel good about myself."
Pierre-Paul has played in all eight regular-season games this season, despite having back surgery in June. But he has just one sack (and 19 tackles) to show for it.
Two years ago, in just his second season in the NFL, he finished fourth in the league in sacks, with 16.5.
The Giants, once known for their ferocious pass rush, could certainly use a jolt from JPP. Despite winning their past two games, they remain dead-last in the league in sacks, with 10.
Pierre-Paul gushed about how good he felt Wednesday, saying it was his best practice of the year "by far."
"I’m getting better and better," he said. "I went out there today and didn’t think too much, and I was bending the corner."
The Oakland Raiders, the Giants' next opponent, are a much stronger running team than passing team -- fourth in the NFL in rushing yards per game (147.8), and third-to-last in passing yards (197.8). The Giants will have to focus on stopping the run -- and Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor is actually the team's leading rusher, with 63 carries for 485 yards (7.7 yards per carry).
That said, the Raiders have given up 32 sacks -- tied for second-most in the league with Pittsburgh Steelers, behind only the Miami Dolphins. So this might be the week that the Giants' pass rush finally reawakens.
Pierre-Paul plans to do it all Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
"Come this Sunday, man, I’m rushing the passer, I’m stopping the run. I'm gonna be all over that field," he said. "They better bring their 'A' game, that's all I can tell you."
Sounds like JPP is at least planning to bring his.