The last time the New York Giants faced the Philadelphia Eagles we asked if Jason Pierre-Paul, coming off back surgery, could be Superman again. Thursday, Pierre-Paul admitted he does not expect to see that guy this season.
"I missed the whole training camp and preseason. Those really are things that will help your game, especially if you’ve been out for a long period of time. Right now I’m just getting better and better every time I go out on the field," Pierre-Paul said Thursday. "It's going to take some time for my back to be strong like it used to be.
"I know for a fact that I'm not as strong as I used to be. I've been going to the weight room to try and lift weights and get my strength back. That will build up as time goes on."
Pierre-Paul, in his fourth season, told Conor Orr of the Star-Ledger that he regretted his decision not to have back surgery immediately after the 2012 season, postponing it until it became obvious during OTAs that he could not deal with the pain.
"The day we didn’t make it to the playoffs, the next day I could have gone in and had back surgery," Pierre-Paul told The Star-Ledger on Thursday. "I would have been ready for (this) season, you know what I’m saying?"
Pierre-Paul has been only a shell of the player he was in 2011, when he had 16.5 sacks and was named All-Pro. He has only one sack this season.
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell admitted Thursday that post-back surgery expectations for Pierre-Paul were probably unrealistic.
"I always expect Superman out of him. We think of him so highly and he does so many amazing things that when he walks on the practice field, you smile. It's probably unfair to him because everybody's expectations are for him to be Superman, but he's human," Fewell said.
"Everyone expects so much of him and he's trying to get there, but he's just not there yet. We have to be patient with him and he'll keep getting better and better as the season goes on and we think that he can return to that form. The biggest thing for us is we believe in him and he has got to believe in himself also."
Pierre-Paul believes he is getting better, and felt Monday's game against the Minnesota Vikings in which he had two hits on quarterback Josh Freeman and batted down a pass, was his best of the season.
When he watches film of himself from 2011 Pierre-Paul says he sees "a whole different player" than the one he is now.
"It's too late to try to change things now. All I can do now is keep getting better and keep rushing," Pierre-Paul said.