First, he promised via the New York Daily News that he would be "all over that field" against the Oakland Raiders in Week 10. But after bringing down quarterback Terrelle Pryor for only his second sack of the season, the one-time All-Pro injured his shoulder and was limited to just four tackles.
Then, two weeks later, he predicted the spilling of blood against the Dallas Cowboys. However, the overconfident Giants were ousted by a field goal, and the only blood present was Dallas defensive tackle Jason Hatcher's faux-gore, which mocked Pierre-Paul's threatening claim.
Now with the Giants on the fringe of the playoff hunt, Pierre-Paul is still running his trap. Although the defensive end did not participate in last Sunday's win over the Washington Redskins, he promises to return to an unstoppable form—next year.
"When I come back next year, I don't think there's going to be a tackle in the league who can stop me," Pierre-Paul said after Wednesday's practice, according to ESPN New York's Dan Graziano.
He is flirting with the idea of closing out the season on injured reserve. The hesitation to shut down his 2013 campaign prematurely is derived from his fear of "looking stupid" should the Giants somehow qualify for postseason play, per Newsday.
Due to his ill-timed back surgery in the summer, we knew Pierre-Paul wouldn't reach dominant form in 2013. In October, he reminded the media that it might take a full offseason to recover from the procedure.
The monster that is JPP would be back; we just had to be patient.
But since the start of the season—when Pierre-Paul claimed the decision to play was all his—the defensive end has repeatedly eaten his words. So when he promises to be unstoppable next season, I can't help but think that I've heard this song before.
Of course, I hope he is right this time—was there a more exciting defensive player to watch when he was at full strength in 2011? He single-handedly won the game for the Giants over the Cowboys in Week 14 in that season. His last-second field-goal block capped off a performance in which he did just about everything in his ability to secure victory.
But has he since replicated that outing?
To be fair, that performance will likely never be replicated—it was that extraordinary. But to expect similar full-game efforts—when he is a relentless menace for the opposition to handle—is not outrageous. After all, he set such expectations with his awe-inspiring 2011 campaign.
Instead, we've only seen flashes of that potential, like his two-sack outing against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 6 of the 2012 season—his only multi-sack performance since the 2011 season—or his flashy pick-six against the Green Bay Packers just a few weeks ago. The potential is there; he just can't seem to tap it with any consistency.
Yes, JPP is known by his initials, but maybe we were too quick to anoint him the second coming of LT. The pass-rusher has plummeted from the limelight, and to me, his most recent promise to re-establish dominance in 2014 sounds like a fallen star's desperate attempt to reassure his status as one of the league's elite defenders.
As head coach Tom Coughlin always says and the Giants were recently reminded, "Talk is cheap; play the game."
Pierre-Paul knows his body better than anyone else, so it's encouraging to see his confidence has not waned despite a plague of injuries. But I, for one, will no longer blindly trust his many assurances—like I have in the past.
This time, I'll believe it when I see it.
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