Jason Pierre-Paul Now Paying Dividends as Giants' Top Draft Pick
However, that didn't happen. Umenyiora got to the quarterback eight times and Tuck seven, but Pierre-Paul, the 6-foot-5, 270-pound rookie from South Florida kept coming up empty. Safeties Deon Grant, cornerback Aaron Ross and middle linebacker Jonathan Goff all picked up at least half a sack, but not Pierre-Paul.
But Pierre-Paul broke through with two sacks last Sunday against Jacksonville and repeated the feat today against Washington, moving him into a tie for third on the Giants behind the ever-present Umenyiora and Tuck.
"About two weeks ago, (defensive coordinator Perry Fewell) said that I need to be the star of the game and I said, 'I'll try,' Pierre-Paul said. "Last week I came out and had two sacks and I said that I was going to keep ballin'. (This week, Fewell) put in some different packages (in which) sometimes I'm at D-tackle and other times I'm at the end. Wherever they put me, I'm going to try to make a play."
Redskins offensive tackle Stephon Heyer, whom Pierre-Paul beat for the sacks on a stunt with Tuck and on a basic up the field power move, said he was impressed by the 21-year-old rookie.
So was Coughlin.
"He's coming along," Coughlin said after the Giants had moved back into a tie with the idle Philadelphia Eagles atop the NFC East at 8-4. "You're seeing his athleticism. He's comfortable, I think, assignment-wise ... and you're seeing the natural ability start to come through."
New York defensive tackle Chris Canty said that Pierre-Paul's surge has enabled the Giants to come at opposing offensive lines in waves.
"JPP has been coming along the last couple of weeks," Canty said. "You always knew the talent was there and now you're starting to (see) it on the field. He's gotten experience through the course of the season and now he's starting to get a better feel for what's going on in the games. You can see the constant improvement in every practice and every game."
Tuck teased that he has taught Pierre-Paul everything he knows about rushing the passer.
"We kind of gave him a hard time three weeks ago because he didn't have any sacks," Tuck said. "I was asking him, 'For you being the 15th pick, we haven't really gotten our investment out of you. And he responded. Four sacks in two games and he's all over the place. Even when he's not sacking quarterbacks, he's in their face. He's deflecting passes (one today).
"He picked up a fumble (today). You can tell how much he's listened and how much he wants it. He's there an hour before the game going over the playbook with the coaches making sure he has every bit of the game plan down and it's benefiting him."