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.
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):