New York Giants’ defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul doesn’t see Chicago Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler as the defense’s top priority in Week 11. That title is reserved for rookie running back Jordan Howard.
“We are not too worried about Cutler,” he said. “We have to be, but our job is to play the run first and get to the pass second. But as long as we keep playing good ball, we will be alright.”
Howard has been a stud since coming on for an injured Jeremy Langford. He's averaged 106.3 yards from scrimmage and scored three touchdowns in his six starts this season. With Alshon Jeffery out (suspended), the Bears have more touches to go around and Howard has certainly earned a few extra looks. The Giants’ fifth-ranked rush defense will certainly be tested.
Pierre-Paul also took the time to expound on teammate Odell Beckham Jr’s Super Bowl comments, following last week's win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Having climbed that mountain before, JPP prefers to take things one game at a time.
“I agree, but let’s slow down for a minute. Like I said, our job this year is to just get in the playoffs, take it one game at a time and hopefully at the end of this run in the regular season we will be in the playoffs. That is the whole goal here.”
Here are a few more takeaways from Pierre-Paul’s media session.
On his relationship with Justin Tuck ...
“I had a private conversation before the game, not before the game, but the day before and he told me a lot of things. It is good to see all those guys. Just seeing Tuck out there, it brings me chills a little bit because I used to play with that guy and he is retiring now. I remember in year seven, he used to be like, ‘Man, my ankle is hurting.’ Now I am in year seven and I am saying the same thing, so I know. I used to be that young cat. Who knows how much time I got left to play this game called football, but at the same time he just told me to enjoy it and that is what I have been doing. Same thing goes for (Kiwanuka); he was out there on the sidelines. Just seeing those guys gives you the chills because you know that you have been through a Super Bowl with them and what it took that year to get there. So many memories, so it is basically play the game and let loose. That is basically what he said and chemistry, too.“
On where he is today, physically, vs. ‘the old’ JPP ...
“It is no old JPP, it is just me playing football. I know it is coming, so why not get your hands up. Most guys don’t do that, but I would rather get a batted pass or something than not getting to the quarterback at all, or a tip or something. Anything can happen when the ball is in the air like that.“
On playing through injury ...
“I am going to be okay, man. I have been through worse. It is going to take a lot of injuries to hold me back. One or two I can deal with, it is nothing. ...For the 2016 season to 17 I am going to be on the field no matter what, so you will probably hear that JPP is not going to practice, but I will be out there on Sunday.“
On how he impacts the game ...
“I think that when you play the New York Giants defense, you have to game plan against me and just knowing that guys are game planning against me, it is just a wonderful feeling because if they don’t, bad things are going to happen. Bad things are going to happen, regardless, but it just makes me feel good and I always had that confidence of just playing football no matter what. Even with my hand injury, I still had that mentality. You could have taken the whole thing and I would have been out there with a nub just doing it. That is just the mentality that I have got, man.”