If Jason Pierre-Paul has any chance of scoring a big-money contract that once seemed like a lock, he's going to have to add to his sack total. He knows it, too.
Asked Friday if it felt good to finally get back in the sack column last Sunday, Pierre-Paul rocked his head back and laughed out loud. Then the Giants' fifth-year defensive end rolled his eyes in a deliberately playful way as if to say, "Well, duuuuhhhhh!"
"I'm a football player, so whatever helps me helps me," Pierre-Paul said. "It's my job."
And he'll try to carry that over Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. But sacks have been hard to come by this season for the Giants' top pass rusher. That's one of the many disappointing facets of the team's 3-9 season.
Pierre-Paul's 1 1/2 sacks Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars were his first since he had two against the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 19. He has only five in 12 games.
Pierre-Paul made a name for himself as one of the league's top pass rushers when he had 16 1/2 sacks in the Giants' Super Bowl season three years ago. But he had only 6 1/2 in 2012 and back surgery limited him to two in 11 games last season.
Pierre-Paul still has four games to improve upon his statistics. Think about what doubling his sack total to 10 could do for him when he begins negotiations this offseason.
"Look at Hank. Hank's got 4.5 and he's right behind me," Pierre-Paul said, referring to locker neighbor Johnathan Hankins. "Take those 4.5 and give them to me and I'd be a happy man right now."
But if Pierre-Paul is going to salvage something in terms of his numbers from this lost season, he's going to have to do so alongside a less experienced crew. With Mathias Kiwanuka and Robert Ayers on injured reserve, Pierre-Paul will line up Sunday alongside second-year player Damontre Moore and undrafted rookie Kerry Wynn, who made his NFL debut last week at defensive end.
"I'm just doing my job," Pierre-Paul said. "Finish strong, finish the season strong, stop the run and get to the quarterback. That's what I do best. At this time now I have young guys with me, but [we're] going to be there for each other and we'll get the job done."
Notes & quotes: Running back Rashad Jennings (ankle) and linebacker Mark Herzlich (concussion) are listed as questionable . . . Linebacker Jacquian Williams (concussion, shoulder) and tackle James Brewer (concussion) are out. Injuries remain such a popular topic of conversation around the Giants that coach Tom Coughlin began his post-practice briefing by saying, "Which injured guy do you want to start with today?''