Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul hits a tackling donut during...

Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul hits a tackling donut during training camp on Monday, Aug. 14, 2017. Credit: Brad Penner


It could happen. In fact, Jason Pierre-Paul has given some thought to being this year’s NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

“I feel like if I play like I’ve been playing in the preseason and up it up when it’s time to really up it up,” the Giants defensive end said on Friday, “then anything can happen.”

Pierre-Paul said winning that honor is one of his goals.

“I have no choice but to go for that,” he said. “I’m the type of dude that, I’m greedy. You have to make sure you do your job right, but everybody has goals they want to achieve. If I get that, I get that, but I’m going to play to my full capabilities and go 110 percent.”

That’s something he hasn’t been able to do in recent years. His 2015 season was wrecked by the infamous fireworks incident that cost him several fingers on his right hand. He played well last season but lost the final four games to a core muscle injury.

This summer, though, he’s been a dominant player both in practices and in preseason games. He’s been the standout performer on a team that has other very early candidates for Defensive Player of the Year such as Landon Collins and Olivier Vernon, both of whom have looked just as ferocious.

All of which brings to mind another goal. A team goal.

Pierre-Paul is the only defensive player on the team who remains from the 2011 Super Bowl squad. He said it is too early to make any predictions based on just a few weeks of work regarding this year’s team. They haven’t even played a game yet. But Pierre-Paul is just as confident in the team’s trajectory as he is his own.

“We’ll get where we need to go,” he said. “We were in the playoffs last year. Our job is to make it to the playoffs again and to the finals, to the championship. That’s our drive, that’s what we’re striving for. Every team out there is striving for that.”

He paused and smiled.

“But we want to be the ones to get there.”

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