Jason Pierre-Paul's math skills still are a little fuzzy, but his confidence is higher than almost anyone can count.
"I have one job, and that's playing the run and getting to the quarterback," the defensive end said of his, count 'em, one, two jobs. "That's basically it. I don't worry too much about what other teams are going to do. I'm out there playing football and being the great football player that I am."
Pierre-Paul is the guy who famously said earlier this season that the Eagles "could have easily been 0-4'' when they were 4-1, but unlike his arithmetic, it's hard to argue with the last part of his most recent statement -- at least in the last few weeks. He has six sacks in the last three games and 91/2 this season, but he's also playing the run about as well as he has at any point in his career. Even while teams continue to run away from him, he's able to make plays.
The best proof of that might have come last week when Pierre-Paul raced across the field and was enough of an obstacle to Robert Griffin III that the Washington quarterback bobbled the ball as he dived into the end zone. That saved a touchdown for the Giants, and likely saved the game.
"Amazing," defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said. "Absolutely amazing, because RG3 is a 4.4, 4.5 guy. JPP was on the right side of the defensive line. It just showed you his desire to want to make that football play. And I think that's what he has done over the last three or four weeks. He's turned up his desire to make plays . . . I was in awe. I really was. It was like, 'Wow!' The guy continues to amaze you."
So where was this JPP earlier in the season? Is this recent explosion of stats and hustle plays just a bid for a new contract as free agency looms? Pierre-Paul said no, and that despite the appearance, he thinks he's been playing at this level all season.
"Even way before my sack numbers, I was playing good," he said. "At the end of the day, it's all about numbers, but I was playing good way before that."
He said the biggest difference has been in the communication on the defensive line. While Pierre-Paul made it clear that is not a knock on veterans such as Mathias Kiwanuka and Robert Ayers Jr. who have been placed in injured reserve, he also pointed out that since they've left, play has improved dramatically.
"The guys who were on the field weren't communicating right," Pierre-Paul said. "You could see it. You go back and watch a couple of games and I saw it. We weren't getting the communication. But we're doing a great job now . . . Any time the communication part is not there, it's going to lead to chaos, especially on the defensive line. It's been there, we've just been rolling with it with the guys that we have. We're doing a very great job with it.''
Young players such as Johnathan Hankins, Damontre Moore and undrafted Kerry Wynn have stepped up their game. And so has Pierre-Paul.
He needs a half-sack in the last two games to reach double-digits in the category for only the second time in his career. Ten is usually the dividing line between a great year and a so-so year for a pass-rushing defensive end, but Pierre-Paul said he's not concerned about reaching the milestone.
"I'm just playing football, and I think I'm doing a great job at it," he said.
Besides, when have numbers ever mattered to him?