Jason Pierre-Paul or DeMarcus Ware: Who ya got?

I’ve been meaning to ask this question for a little while now whenever I couldn’t think of anything else to write, but today feels like a good time.  A couple days ago, on the Michael Kay show, Chris Canty, currently of the Giants and formerly of the Cowboys, opined that… “no question in my mind”… Jason Pierre-Paul is better than DeMarcus Ware.

(SIDE NOTE: And he didn’t stop there.  He went as far as to say that JPP compares more favorably to Reggie White.  I’ll say what I said when people started comparing Ndamukong Suh to Reggie White:  In his first four years in the league, White had 70 sacks, or 17.5 per season.  In one of those seasons, the strike-shortened season of 1987, he had 21 sacks, and if he had played 16 games instead of 12, we’d still be asking “Who’s going to catch Reggie?” instead of “Who’s going to catch Strahan?”  Not to mention, Reggie White played at around 285-300 lbs., and was pure power.  Completely different style of player in comparison to JPP, even if they can both play multiple positions along the line.   Canty was 3 years old when Reggie entered the NFL.  He’s talking up his teammate, which is fine, so I won’t kill him for that.  But for the rest of us, let’s just stop this nonsense of comparing every great young defensive lineman to Reggie White… right now.)

Sorry, back on track.  A few weeks ago, I compared the Giants’ and Eagles’ defensive lines, and here’s what I wrote about JPP:

The best defensive lineman between the two teams, by far and away, is Jason Pierre-Paul.  He had 16.5 sacks last season, but that doesn’t even begin to tell the story on what kind of player he is:

  • In 2011, he batted 10 passes at the line of scrimmage.  That was more batted balls at the line than the entire Eagles’ team had last year.  In fact, according to PFF, only 10 defensive backs in the league had more pass break-ups than JPP had batted passes.  Think about that for a minute.  That’s absolutely remarkable.
  • He makes plays on special teams.  Remember that kind of important, game-sealing blocked FG against the Cowboys last year?
  • He’s exceptional against the run, as he had the most tackles in the league among all defensive linemen.
  • Incredible competitor.  I’ll always remember the Saints-Giants blowout last year.  The Saints did pretty much whatever they wanted to the Giants’ defense last year at the Superdome, and with the game completely wrapped up at the end of the 4th quarter and the Giants stacking the interior of the line to stop a likely clock draining inside run, the Saints ran up the score a little by calling a pitch to Mark Ingram.  Ingram had a free run to the endzone, and just about all the Giants kind of jogged and watched.  Not JPP.  He sprinted after Ingram all the way to the goal line and almost caught him.  That unwillingness to quit stuck with me.

I also happen to believe that JPP had a better season than DeMarcus Ware last year, and feel that he probably should have gotten more votes for Defensive Player of the Year:

Terrell Suggs had an incredible season as well, as he racked up 7 forced fumbles to go along with 70 tackles, 14 sacks, and a couple picks.  However, I think it’s comical that Jared Allen got 14 votes to JPP’s 5 because he happened to challenge the all time sack record the final week of the season, when JPP was a far more complete player.

(On another side note, whoever voted for Charles Woodson should just have their vote taken away.)

But what does “better” mean?  Does it mean “Who had the better season last year?”   Does it mean “Who would you rather have on your team, with all things considered, such as age, salary, etc?”  Or does it just mean, “Who is the better player, right now?”  The answer to the first 2 questions, in my opinion, is JPP.  The answer to number 3 would be “I don’t know.”

People are extremely quick to anoint “the next great (fill in the blank)” far too soon these days.  As noted above, people were comparing Ndamukong Suh to Reggie White.  Sam Bradford was being compared to Dan Marino after his rookie season.  Hell, the Cowboys themselves starting comparing Morris Claiborne to Deion Sanders before Claiborne ever stepped onto an NFL field.

Overreactions abound.

We all know how good DeMarcus Ware is.  He’s going to skate right into the Hall of Fame exactly 5 years after he retires:

In my opinion, it’s WAY too early to say that JPP is simply “better,” as in right now, than Ware, based on one amazing season.

Still, just for the sake of democracy, we’ll put it to a vote (or in other words, let’s see if I have more Cowboys readers or Giants readers):


  1. David C says:

    Jimmy, JPP is the better player for the shear reason of his ability to stop the run. The Eagles abused the shit out of Ware in the running game last season to the tune of two blow out wins. Ware is a slightly better pass rusher, but JPP is heads above when it comes to stopping the run.

  2. rick mage says:

    I don’t know what type of water they’re giving Chris Canty in New York, but I think they should stop before he gets anymore retarded…

  3. nateheath1 says:

    For the 2011-2012 season, given the choice between DeMarcus Ware and JPP to join my favorite team on the field: I would have to choose Ware. It’s a tough call, but I know that he’s not just having a good year. He’s been consistently dangerous to opposing quarterbacks for a long time, and I would have confidence that he’s going to continue to do so for at least the next year. Obviously, if you were “building” a defense, the choice is JPP simply because of his age.

  4. nateheath1 says:

    For the 2011-2012 season, given the choice between DeMarcus Ware and JPP to join my favorite team on the field: I would have to choose Ware. It’s a tough call, but I know that he’s not just having a good year. He’s been consistently dangerous to opposing quarterbacks for a long time, and I would have confidence that he’s going to continue to do so for at least the next year. Obviously, if you were “building” a defense, the choice is JPP simply because of his age.

  5. Number5 says:

    If I was building a defense I would take JPP over Ware.

  6. greg says:

    I take the question as who is better now, but as a “take your guess” question that doesnt require proof, since we are all guessing. For this reason I guessed JPP will be the better of the 2 this year.

  7. Smitty says:

    I’ll take Cole. Wildcard bitches.

  8. joe d says:

    as an eagles fan who really respecte wares talent since he hit the NFL, i currently rather have JPP.. Ware has the stats, but I think JPP makes more plays/more disruptive… Losing JPP would decimate the Giants defense.. i havent been high on the cowboys defense since fat wade stopped being dc…wade is a great dc..

    god, charles woodson WAS amazing, but at this point if it werent for the name on his jersey, he would probably be cut from NFL temas

    1. Anders says:

      Who did the Cowboys have last year outside of Ware on defense?

    2. polypoly says:

      You say that as if losing DWare wouldn’t decimate the Cowboys’ D

  9. Dez Bryant's Probation Officer says:

    JPP because he’s won a Superbowl.

  10. yehti says:

    Ware, but in 3 years I would have to say JPP if he keeps it up. JPP was dominant last year true beast

  11. giantsfan says:

    I’ve gotta give it to Ware. Dude is a beast and he’s simply done it for longer. JPP has it in him to be better than Ware, and I think JPP is more athletic than Ware, so we’ll have to wait and see.

    With that said, if I’m building a team today – it’s JPP all the way, which is fine by me. 🙂

  12. I Agree says:

    CHRIS (da 1eye) CANTY is on that ready Rock!

  13. TK19 says:

    I think Ware is the best defensive player in football, yes better than Revis. Anyone who says Ware is a poor run defender is not paying attention. A few years ago Ware was one of the best run-defenders in the league. He has declined, but is still a very good run defender.

    Since sacks became an official stat in 1982, 10 players have recorded more than 19 sacks in a single season. Ware is the ONLY player to have done it twice (2008 & 2011).

    Better player “right now” Ware and it’s not even close.

    We can have this conversation again in 3 years.

  14. rage114 says:

    JPP. Ware can only do one thing.

    JPP is so good that the Giants often ask him to do things other players at other positions would normally do. Additionally, there are times when he isn’t rushing the QB because of Osi.

    If they only asked JPP is rush the passer on every snap, how many sacks would he have?

    1. Tim says:

      Completely incorrect– what evidence do you have that “Ware can only do one thing”? Ware was the Cowboys’ best run defender for most of his career, and in the past couple seasons has declined a bit in that area but is still a top tier run defender according to Pro Football Focus’ metrics. He is also excellent at covering RBs out of the backfield…the most well-known example of this is probably his covering Frank Gore 20 yards downfield on a wheel route a couple seasons ago.

      Also, he did this, which is one the most athletic plays I have ever seen an NFL player make:
      Picks off a point-blank bullet from Vick, stiff arms him, and sprints into the end zone. Ware has abilities beyond just pass-rushing…he just happens to be so freakishly good at rushing that that is what he mainly asked to do.

      Also, THESE GUYS ARE PASS RUSHERS. They should be evaluated as overall defenders, but certainly pass-rushing should be disproportionately valued versus other skills, just like coverage ability should be disproportionately valued for a cornerback.

      1. Joe says:

        Not really a super athletic play. Vick threw the ball right at Ware because he was too short to see over the guy in front of him. He stiff armed the QB….how many QBs can tackle a huge OLB…just saying. ‘Id take Ware btw but looking to the next say 5 years i’d take JPP.

      2. rage114 says:


        Go to the 1:14 +/- mark and watch Celek block Ware one-on-one. No attempt to remotely stuff the hole that McCoy could’ve jogged through.

        1. Tim says:

          Taking one play on a YouTube clip and using it to call a player a bad run defender doesn’t really fly, IMO. Ware grades out reasonable well in PFF’s metrics on run defense. JPP was a better run defender last year, but Ware’s not a slouch. And again, THESE GUYS ARE PASS RUSHERS. To me, pass rushing should be disproportionately highly valued when evaluating them, since that is the major (and, in a passing league, the most valuable) thing they are asked to do.

          1. rage114 says:

            Fair enough. But that play was used routinely against the Cowboys…with the same result. There is another clip with Clay Harbor providing the block and Ware being owned just the same. I can find it you would like but I don’t think that will make a difference.

            Either way, we will have to agree to disagree.

            Also, I disagree is labeling JPP simply as a “pass rusher”. I would absolutely agree on Ware. Even in passing situations, JPP drops into coverage or lines up at DT at times.

            JPP is often asked to do more, IMO.

  15. Gordon Tyron says:

    I think ware is a better pass rusher in terms of pressure. Offensive teams pay so much attention to him and divert all of their blocking schemes to him. Yet, Ware still produces pressures/sacks at an incredible consistent rate over the years

    JPP is not a great pass rusher. A good number of his sacks are effort sacks or sacks when the QB has held the ball for 5 seconds or longer. JPP doesn’t get doubled a lot either to the extent Ware does. He’ll see some chips but JPP does not get Michael strahan/Demarcus ware attention from offenses. Ware has a much better speed rush than JPP too. But JPP is a LOT better against the run than Ware, by a mile.

    So I’m not sure if you can say JPP is a more complete player than Ware. That would seem to indicate JPP is a better pass rusher than Ware, which its arguable he isn’t.

  16. brisulph says:

    Right now Ware is still better… but JPP is the guy I take if for my team at this point in time if I had to choose between the two (the age thing).

  17. NYG_slater says:

    just a note with the canty comment comparing him to reggie white….I think media is twisting his words a bit. If you listen to the actual audio from the michael kay show he doesnt straight up compare and say JPP is as good as Reggie. He says JPP is a great player and his versatility is a main reason why he is great. Furthermore, in terms of versatility, there hasnt been anyone like that since reggie white.. Atleast, that’s the way i took it when i heard the audio.

  18. ct17 says:

    Ware probably pressures the QB more. But it is JPP’s ability to stack and shed blockers that gives him the edge as an overall player. Strahan did it with strength and leverage. JPP just uses those long arms to toss the tackle to the side.

    Allen is a great DE, but his in-division rivals had no running game for most of the year and put out Backus, Webb, and Newhouse against him.

    If you want to make a Reggie White comparison, Justin Smith last year would be the closest match.

    1. Tim says:

      There was a point several seasons into his career where Reggie White was averaging more than a SACK PER GAME. What on earth makes this seem similar to Justin Smith to you, other than the fact that they are both very big and strong?

      1. ct17 says:

        I was talking about style. There are not many productive power rushers. And I’m also only talking about last year. For his career, Smith is not been consistently productive rushing the passer.

  19. BBI says:

    The poll question is “Who is best RIGHT NOW”….That in my mind means in the past 2 or 3 years. Therefore, I voted Ware.

    If I’m starting a team right now, its JPP. At the end of both their careers, if JPP is anything near Demarcus Ware’s career….I’d be ecstatic. But he’s shown to me with such an incredible season, that he’s got that sort of talent in him.

    In a twitter conversation with Adam Caplan, he likened JPP to Richard Seymour with his ability to take on more than one blocker, and win. He apparently asked NFL execs and they said the same.

    At the end of the day though, Demarcus Ware is Demarcus Ware. Right now, he’s the king.

    1. RogerPodacter says:

      this is pretty much my thinking too.

  20. Tim says:

    The question we’re looking at seems to be: “Who’s better right now?”….and I’d say it’s Ware, and by a considerable amount, at least based off the evidence we have so far. JPP is obviously an extremely promising young player, but no matter how athletic and talented he clearly is, there’s just not enough of a track record there to put him above a surefire Hall of Famer who is still in his prime. I think it’s a little ridiculous that Jimmy’s initial answer was “I don’t know,” although I get that comparing defensive players can be difficult.

    Here’s my rationale:

    Ware is not a one-dimensional player like Allen or Babin– he plays the run (although not as well as he did 2-3 yrs ago, when he was the Cowboys’ best pass rusher AND run defender) in addition to pass rushing, and he does a good job of covering RBs in the flat when it is needed. JPP is an all-around guy as well, which is great, but we shouldn’t discount Ware as “just a pass rusher.”

    That said, the big thing both of these guys are asked to do is pass rush, and Ware is more productive in that area, both overall and per snap:
    Ware is the 2nd most productive pass rusher PER SNAP in the NFL (Wake rated first)…JPP isn’t in the top 20.

    And the biggest thing to me is what a couple of commenters already mentioned above– Ware consistently puts up seasons of 15+ sacks and league-leading pressure (hurries + hits + sacks) numbers while being the only elite pass-rushing threat on his team. He is double and triple teamed every single game. JPP did not have to face that for the majority of last year, because of his rather sudden breakout and because of the other very good pass rushers on his team.

    1. peterhad313 says:

      the PFF article is slightly unfair as JPP hasn’t been in the league for three years and is therefore disqualified. More fair would be that PFF has JPP as thier 17th best player, and Ware at only 26.
      Couldn’t find the article for PRP in 2011, as that should be where you compare them.

      1. Anders says:

        JPP had a PRP of 8.4, thats why he is not on that list. He actually played enough snaps to be qualified, his pass rush production according that single stat wasnt that impressive. I think the reason why JPP graded out better is because he was also very good in the run game.

      2. Tim says:

        Anders is correct here, JPP has a PRP grade despite not playing 3 years. Ware grades out significantly better.

  21. peterhad313 says:

    Voted JPP. I think they were pretty much even last year. JPP had more help, but he was also better against the run. Factor in JPP is only going to get better, and Ware is just about to hit 30, I feel JPP will be the superior player next year.

  22. NYG_slater says:

    oh god….this debate…As you mentioned, I think it depends how you define the question. does “better, right now” mean just look at their last season? Does it mean which player has had a better career? Or possibly, will have a better career? You could give different answers to all those questions…. Ultimately, I voted for ware. He’s still playing great and teams have been trying to stop him for years, it doesn’t matter, he still produces. Let’s see if JPP can do the same.
    Its sorta scary that we’re having this debate after essentially JPP’s first season (practically red-shirted as a rookie) JPP is clearly a very good football player, appears to have the desire/motor to become great, is in a great situation with good players around him, and isn’t even in his prime/fully developed. In 5 years from now, maybe JPP will be the better player and have a better career. Till that happens, its ware.

  23. Jason-E says:

    I voted JPP. He’s young and he’s a freak. There’s still potential for him to be better. I hate it, but the dude is a beast.

  24. Anders says:

    If we talk starting a team right now, I would take JPP because of age, but if we talk best player I take Ware. JPP might have had a fantastic season, but I still think we need atleast two more years to crown JPP anything.

    One thing to remember, JPP played a tons of snaps last season and had Tuck, Osi, Canty and Joseph to help while Ware only got Ratliff as the only presence to fear on that team

    1. TK19 says:

      “Ware only got Ratliff as the only presence to fear on that team”… Rat isn’t the player he was 2 years ago – still good, but no longer dominant.

      Throw in the fact Ware had one of the worst secondaries in the NFL last year and it’s amazing he had 19.5 sacks.

  25. Free Plax says:

    I think Canty was just talking up his teamate. Comparing a guy to Reggie White is like comparing a linebacker to LT, they just won’t stack up. Those guys only come around once in a blue moon.

    As far as Ware goes, I would still give him a slight edge becasue basically he is the only guy in Dallas’s front 7 you really have to pay attention to. So he has been fighting through double teams for years now and has not slowed down. With the Giants you have Tuck & Umenyora and if you double JPP all game one of those guys is gonna kill you.

    Looking forward to watching what JPP does for season no 3 !

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