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72° Good Morning

JPP thinks he can be twice as good as last year

FEBRUARY 28 Mario Andretti Eric Lindros Bubba Smith

Mario Andretti
Eric Lindros
Bubba Smith
Jason Pierre-Paul (pictured)
Credit: AP

Perhaps the scariest motion of training camp so far (and yes, it’s very early) came when Jason Pierre-Paul was standing in front of reporters. He held his hand out at about chest level to show where he thinks he is in his development as a player. Then he lifted his hand above his head to show where he believes he is headed.

How much of a jump is there to make?

“I’m about 50,” he said, meaning he’s reached 50 percent of his potential. “I am still learning. That is the good thing about it. I want to come out here and learn and keep on improving.”

That collective gulp you just heard was from every offensive tackle and quarterback in the league. Pierre-Paul was a dominant force last year, but he said that was only the start for him. He’s only entering his third NFL season, remember. Now he thinks he will eventually be TWICE as good as that. Yikes.

“I am just trying to be that 20-year-old kid trying to make a football team and be a sponge to the game and teach these rookies something too,” Pierre-Paul said of his attitude this summer. “That is basically it, stay a 20-year-old kid trying to make the football team like I don’t even have a spot on the team.”

Of course he does. And if he, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora can all be healthy and productive, well, that could be scary as well. Pierre-Paul wouldn’t address that possibility, though.

“It’s too early to talk,” he said, afraid of jinxing anything. “Anything can happen. We are going to give it our best shot to the best of our ability.”

New York Sports