What can the New York Giants expect from defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul in 2013? Much has been made of Pierre-Paul's decline in quarterback sacks from 16.5 during his All-Pro 2011 season to 6.5 during a good, but not dominant, 2012 season.
Where will Pierre-Paul's numbers fall in 2013?
Pro Football Focus analyst Ben Stockwell recently took at look at Pierre-Paul's work the past two seasons and concluded that JPP "is an elite edge defender but not an elite pass rusher."
Stockwell contends that Pierre-Paul is a better inside pass rusher (one pressure for every 26.5 rushes to the inside) than outside (one pressure every 31.5 pass rushes). In 2011, Stockwell reported that Pierre-Paul had an outside pressure once every 24.5 rushes. He writes:
Part of what lets Pierre-Paul down in regard to really maximizing inside pressure is his ability to consistently get outside of opposing pass protectors. In simple terms, he can’t get outside of pass protectors frequently enough to force them to over-compensate to that outside pass rush, opening up the inside moves. The most efficient inside pass rushers almost all get pressure to the outside of pass protectors at a far better rate than Pierre-Paul manages. That Pierre-Paul only averaged outside pressure once per game this season, and only converted three of sixteen pressures into a hit or sack on the quarterback, tells the story of a pass rusher who lacked that burst to really threaten the corner and worry tackles about reaching him. In 2011 Pierre-Paul had far better balance in his pass rush. It was the outside sacks and hits that were missing from his game this past season.
Valentine's View: Perhaps the fact that Pierre-Paul spent so much more time on the left side where my belief is he is less natural affected his burst to the outside. With Osi Umenyiora gone to the Atlanta Falcons via free agency perhaps Pierre-Paul will spend more time on the right side in 2013. Last season, Pierre-Paul spent only 57.9 percent of his time at right defensive end.
The fourth-year defensive end was hardly awful in 2012 despite going from 16.5 sacks to 6.5, from 93 tackles to 66, from 72 total quarterback pressures to 55, from nine passes defensed to six. In fact, he was very good. He finished with a +23.7 overall score from PFF, including +18.4 vs. the run. Pierre-Paul is ranked No. 55 on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2013 list.
"He's a specimen, man," said Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive lineman Donald Penn. "He's one of those beasts. His arms are so long he can scratch his knee standing straight up without bending down. That causes a lot of problems for a tackle. You've gotta get your hands on him first."
Dallas offensive lineman Derrick Dockery doesn't line up against JPP, but he knows what kind of player he is.
"Tyron Smith I believe is going to be a great player. He literally picked him up and dumped him into the quarterback's lap," Dockery said. "He's a really good player. One of the top three defensive ends in the National Football League."
Still, no matter how you slice it the Giants would like to get more than 6.5 sacks out of their best pass rusher