Michael Strahan has been retired from the Giants for five years, but his old team has one more assignment for him.
Jerry Reese said on Thursday that he would ask Strahan to speak with Jason Pierre-Paul about dealing with double-teams and other offensive strategies this offseason. The hope is that one of the franchise’s best defensive players of all time will be able to help mold another into an all-time great.
“The guy I’d love for him to talk to in the offseason some is Michael Strahan,” Reese said in a season-ending interview on WFAN. “After Michael became a superstar defensive end, he was getting double-teamed, he was getting chipped, but he was still getting sacks. The great ones still get through there and make plays. He’s got to do that.”
Pierre-Paul had 16.5 sacks in 2011 but that number fell to 6.5 this season -- none on the last seven games of the season -- mostly because opposing teams focused more on him. Reese said that’s not an excuse.
“He can’t give up and be like ‘Wow, they’re double-teaming or triple-teaming me, I’m getting chipped, they’re high-lowing me, they’re doing everything to me.’” Reese said. “It’s frustrating for young players, but to be a superstar defensive end pass rusher in this league you have to beat those double-team blocks. I’m going to reach out to Michael Strahan this offseason and see if he can have some conversations with JPP and just tell him, ‘Look, it’s inside your chest a lot of it.’ You have to have the heart to do it and I think he does but I think if he hears it from somebody like Michael Strahan that would really encourage him.”
Strahan is no stranger to the Giants, although for most of his retirement he was distanced from the team and living in California. Since this summer, though, he has spent his weeks in New York as co-host of the morning show “Live with Kelly and Michael.” When he took that job he told Newsday that he was looking forward to working with the Giants, especially the defensive linemen, in some capacity.
Pierre-Paul may need some work, but Tom Coughlin – also speaking on WFAN on Thursday – said he is still a dominant player. And he was voted to a second Pro Bowl this season.
“Jason has been able to deal with that and continue to play very, very well,” Coughlin said of the double teams. “He is still a premier, premier football player and pass rusher as well … He’ll benefit tremendously from looking at and studying the way in which people went about their business this year.”
Especially, the Giants believe, if he has Strahan as a study partner.