Back in January, at the end of the 2011 regular season, I named Jason Pierre-Paul the NFC East Defensive Player of the Year, edging out DeMarcus Ware on the strength of his ability to not only rush the passer, but also excel in the run game and special teams. JPP has since commented that my recognition of his awesomeness was more satisfying than winning the Super Bowl. OK, so that didn’t really happen.
What I didn’t realize at the time was how many passes JPP batted down at the line of scrimmage. According to Pro Football Focus, he had TEN. That was more than the entire Eagles defense had last season. Batted passes are obviously something the Giants place a high value on, as they blew away the rest of the NFC East in that statistic:
In fact, 5 of the 11 players in the NFC East that had at least 3 or more batted passes were Giants, and a 6th, Barry Cofield, used to be.
Batted passes are a very overlooked statistic. They end drives and can lead to interceptions if you get the right deflection. The Giants were good for about 2 of them per game last season. The Giants’ starting front four are Justin Tuck (6’5), Jason Pierre-Paul (6’5), Chris Canty (6’7), and Linval Joseph (a puny 6’4). For good measure, they also have the tallest set of linebackers in the NFL. The Giants are going to get their share of batted passes simply on their height alone, but 10 batted passes for one player, no matter how tall he is, is just ridiculous. As Cris Collinsworth said, JPP is all arms and legs coming at you, like an octopus.