One of the reasons for Jason Pierre-Paul’s subpar numbers in 2012 when he had just 6.5 sacks – 10 fewer than the previous season – was the regular diet of double teams that he faced. He’ll likely continue to see them this year, too. But while he was able to fight through them enough to have a decent season in run defense and quarterback pressures, the trick for 2013 will be in trying to avoid them.
“I get double-teamed a lot but I do a great job of beating the tackle and beating the running back,” Pierre-Paul said on Tuesday night at Umberto’s of New Hyde Park.
That, however, is not the best approach.
“We all kind of went through that phase, Osi, Stray, myself, now JPP is kind of that guy that teams are going to focus on and try to shut down a little bit,” teammate Justin Tuck said at the same event. “But the thing with JPP is that he doesn’t really care. He really doesn’t. He looks at it as a blessing having two guys try to block him and he is going to try to defeat both. It will be something that we look on film and try to take that to the field and try to figure out ways to kind of lift that burden from him in ways that maybe we didn’t do last season.”
The way to beat a double team is not to take on both players at once, as Pierre-Paul often found himself doing, but to outsmart the scheme and at the very most take on one and a half players, not the full brunt of two NFL blockers.
“That is not really smart,” Tuck said. “But if anybody can do it, he can. But I am sure that is something we will look at and I think it is something that he’s looked at because we talked in the offseason about it. We will try our best to move him around, move myself around, we have a lot of versatile guys on the defensive line. We added Cullen Jenkins who can play the end and inside. So we will figure out ways to free him up a little bit more than we did last year.”
One thing the Giants hoped to do was pair Michael Strahan with Pierre-Paul this offseason to talk about his evolution. So far, though, that hasn’t happened.
“You can say things, but it takes a lot for them to happen,” Pierre-Paul said. “That never happened. I’ve just been going about my business, calling Tuck, still communicating with Osi. Both are great guys. Whatever they can help me with they tell me and I just work on it on the field.”