Pierre-Paul trying to regain form after surgery

Jason Pierre-Paul might be the most puzzling piece on the
winless New York Giants’ much-maligned defense.

Pierre-Paul was supposed to be their playmaker, their catalyst.
When opposing centers snapped the ball, many expected ”JPP” to
either swallow up running backs or leap over linemen for
game-changing sacks.

And why not? Pierre-Paul was freakish in how he dominated games
in his first two seasons, only to struggle last year because of a
back injury.

When Pierre-Paul had disk surgery in June, the assumption was he
would dominate games once again when he returned. When It didn’t
happen in the season opener against Dallas, many felt it was
because he missed training camp.

Heading into Week 5 against the Eagles (1-3) at MetLife Stadium,
the Giants’ wait for JPP continues. He has 12 total tackles, one
sack and he’s been pushed around more than he has pushed.

Pierre-Paul, who had 16 1/2 sacks in his second season, insists
he’s not wondering where the dominant JPP went.

”You could sit here and dwell on the past,” said the
24-year-old who had a slight MLC injury last week. ”You just got
to look toward the future. That’s what I’m looking toward. Yeah,
I’m just coming off back surgery. Whatever. That was 16, 17 weeks
ago. Who cares? I got to get back to my old self. And I’m trying
very hard.”

Coach Tom Coughlin said Pierre-Paul is work hard to catch

”You’ve got to give him time to work into it,” Coughlin said
Thursday. ”He’s really tried to take a lot of practice and he’s
been doing this for over two weeks where he’s taking more than the
normal number of reps just trying to catch up with exactly what
you’re saying. We were fortunate to get him back when we did,
realizing he had no training camp, nothing. We tried to hold back
on his reps and then we brought him along, and currently he’s
pretty much taken everything he can take trying to catch up.”

Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said opponents are still
doubling Pierre-Paul. He could not break down the number of times
the Giants’ 2010 first-round pick faces one opponent or multiple

”I think everybody’s expectation was so high that he could come
back and be Superman – I’ll use that term, OK,” Fewell said. ”But
obviously a player has to work himself back into shape. He has to
work himself back into football mentality and he has to keep
working at his craft for his skills to rise to the top level.”

Fewell thinks Pierre-Paul is getting there. The Eagles will
certainly give him chances. Michael Vick has been sacked 14 times
this season and been hit a lot more than that.

”I’m trying to get better every day,” Pierre-Paul said. “I
wish I didn’t have surgery, but I had to do it. I’m getting better
every day. Everybody says I’m improving and that’ the thing. My
conditioning is on point, so it’s just getting back to that
football mode. I’m pretty slow off the ball as I watch on film.
I’ve got to correct that. I do a great job of playing the run. I
think it’s just getting off the ball and being a great pass rusher

Veteran defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said because a player
puts on a uniform doesn’t mean he is 100 percent.

”I think getting cleared to play just means that they think
you’ll make it out without any further injuries, without making it
worse or anything serious,” Jenkins said. ”Just because you’re
cleared to play doesn’t mean that you’re going to be 100 percent by
any stretch. You go out there, you fight, you tough it out and you
try to help the team.”

That’s what Pierre-Paul is trying to do now.

NOTES: A day after returning to practice, starting CB Corey
Webster was out again with a groin injury. The Giants are short at
cornerback with Jayron Hosley (hamstring) and Aaron Ross (back)
also not practicing. …Starting DTs Linval Joseph (ankle-knee) and
Jenkins (Achilles’ tendon-knee) also did not practice. …MLB Mark
Herzlich (toe), DT Shaun Rogers (back) and CB Terrell Thomas (knee)
returned to practice on a limited basis.

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org