Outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul returned to action last week for the first time since the 2018 season. On his first snap of the game, he recorded a sack of Titans’ quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He was pretty nonchalant about the whole thing in the locker room on Wednesday, saying he should have done more throughout the game. Pierre-Paul never doubted his ability to play again but it’s clear after Sunday, he expected to make an immediate impact, not just simply return.
“That’s just me, period,” Pierre-Paul said. “I feel like no matter what, just the football drive that I got is different. Everybody is built different and I just think that I’m built different in just the football drive that I’ve got, nobody has it in the NFL. That’s basically it, and I can sit here and tell you that.”
It was validating for him to finally return to the game he loves after not taking a snap in over 10 months because of a May car crash where he suffered a broken neck. I’m not sure you’ll find a guy who loves football more than JPP, in fact. It’s the second devastating injury he’s fought through in his career and yet, he always comes back – and with a vengeance.
“I missed the game a lot,” Pierre-Paul admits. “For you to stay home and it’s not in your control – the only thing you can control is yourself. I did what I had to do and I’m here now.”
Now that his return is out of the way, it’s business as usual, which includes getting prepared to take on the Seahawks and their dual-threat quarterback Russell Wilson. While Wilson is mobile and can sometimes evade pressure that way, he’s not immune to being sacked. The Seattle offensive line has let up 19.0 sacks this season, the 15th-most in the league. It means the opportunity is there for Pierre-Paul, and the rest of the defense around him, to disrupt the game by getting to the veteran signal caller.
“I’m onto Seattle now,” JPP said. “I’m ready to chase Russell Wilson because I know he’s going to be running all day. Y’all will see me running a lot more this week and do my thing like I do it.”
What makes Wilson so dangerous is his ability to escape the pocket and make plays long after the play has broken down. It’s not a matter of ‘if,’ it’s a matter of ‘when’ he gets out. Pierre-Paul knows that.
“He’ll find a way out,” Pierre-Paul said. “At the end of the day, we’ve just got to bring our best ball, bring your best ball forward and get ready to play. I’m pretty sure the guys are ready to play. This is a whole new week. Anything can happen in the NFL.”
Here's to hoping Wilson gets a scare this weekend in the form of a 6-5, 275 outside linebacker crashing in on him. Happy Halloween, Bucs fans.