Pierre-Paul thinks he’ll make a difference for Bucs

by Gary Shelton on March 24, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Saturday, 3 a.m.

You imagine the front four, all shiny and new. You imagine them staring at the quarterback, and their teeth are long. You imagine them collapsing the pocket.

You imagine the linebackers, sleek and fast. You imagine them cleaning up behind a stronger line, a fiercer line. You imagine what third-and-12 might look like for the other team for a change.

You imagine the secondary, which finally has a chance. You imagine them having to cover for less time. You imagine such a thing as a coverage sack. You imagine the opponent not having time to go long.

You imagine a better day for the Tampa Bay Bucs. Oh, no one knows if it will be good enough. But the roster seems more formidable, more dangerous. Finally, the playoffs don't seem like a long-distance call.

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Jason Pierre-Paul, the bringer of dreams, is responsible for all of the sudden optimism that seems to surround the Tampa Bay Bucs.He sits in the front of the room, in a press conference to announce his arrival. Oh, Vinny Curry will help. And Beau Allen. And center Ryan Jensen.

As of now, however, this is Pierre-Paul's show. Among the new Bucs, he is the headliner. It is Pierre-Paul that will start every conversation, the one about his hand and the one about his heart, the one about what he has lost and what he has left.

"Jason Pierre-Paul…you're getting a more advanced Jason Pierre-Paul," Pierre Paul said. "At that time, I barely knew what the draft was coming into the draft. My best friend will tell you that. I didn't even know what the NFL Draft was at the time, so I was basically a raw player. You're getting a more advanced and elite player and as a person, I strive to be great. I'll only get better myself and then everybody that follows along with me won't be mad or disappointed. But, that was a player that didn't even know football. Now I've been in the game for eight years, going on nine, and I'm a totally different player."

Last season, Pierre-Paul played the second most snaps in the NFL. That should help the Bucs.

“To be honest, I don’t even really count the snaps," Pierre-Paul said. "When I’m out there, I’m just going, like an Energizer Bunny. Whoever wants to tag along, come on, you know what I mean? Even at the Giants, when I’m on that field, I don’t come out unless the coaches say, ‘Hey come out, take a break.’ But I don’t come out. I play to win and that’s how I am. I play to win and I strive for greatness. So, counting the snaps, I don’t really know until someone actually tells me and I’m like, ‘Oh okay, cool.’ I didn’t even know that [I played the second-most snaps in the league.] The snaps aren’t a big thing for me. I’m just out there playing and that’s who I am.”

Pierre-Paul admitted he faced a challenge when a fireworks accident cost him most of a hand.

"Sorry, I get emotional when I talk about my injury," Pierre-Paul said. "Sorry. My injury, what I learned from my injury, was that I'm unstoppable, man. I thank my Dad for that because my Dad, he's been blind for 29 years and he never complained, not once. From that, I know I'm unstoppable. It's going to take a hell of a lot for me to get off that damn field…sorry for cussing. So, basically that's what it is.

"I never, ever doubted myself that I would not play football again. I returned back and I had one goal; one goal was, I'm not missing a season and I came back and actually finished that season. And then, coming back, this was actually my first game – I think Tampa Bay was my first game back and I did pretty well against y'all. Like I said, from that point I just knew that nobody can really touch me when it comes to this sport. In order for me to not play this sport, you've got to take both of my legs and even then I'll still try to find a way to play."

Pierre-Paul thinks he can help the Bucs' defense improve.

"Like I say, you've got to embrace the change," Pierre-Paul said. "I'm here now – I know for a fact I'm going to get to the quarterback and stop the run and I'm pretty sure all the other guys are pumped. It takes one guy to actually – I won't say change the team, but I feel like one person can actually help a team. Me being here, you're going to see my work ethic. My work ethic says a lot. I'm not really a vocal guy like that. When you see me, see me on the field, you see me running, always practicing. Game time, you see the energy, you see the excitement. Getting the fans into the game is a big, big deal. The fans have to be in the game. That's the stuff you're going to see, especially in training camp and everything. You'll see that. I'm not really a vocal guy, like I said, but you'll see that."

You imagine. You imagine 17 points being enough to win, just like it was in the old days. You imagine the best defense since Sapp and Brooks left the huddle. You imagine the offense needing fewer points to win.

You imagine improvement. You imagine success.

You imagine that it's about time.

 

 

 

 

 

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