Playbook: ‘JPP’ shows his true potential

When stats from the Green Bay–New York game scrolled across the bottom line of every major sports network this Monday, you saw “Aaron Rodgers: 369 yards, 4 TDs” and then “Eli Manning: 347, 3 TDs”.

What you didn’t see: Jason Pierre-Paul, three tackles, two quarterback hits and two pass deflections.

Those stats might not be eye-popping, but after watching the coaching tape, it becomes evident that “JPP” and fellow edge rusher Justin Tuck were as much responsible for the Giants hanging in with the undefeated Packers as anyone else.

If the Packers have a weakness on offense, it’s their tackle situation with Marshall Newhouse at left tackle in place of an injured Chad Clifton. And Pierre-Paul, a second-year player out of South Florida, is only beginning to tap his playing potential after only one season of major college football.

He showcased his capabilities against Newhouse. With his long, 6-foot-6 frame, Pierre-Paul used his hands and leverage versus the Packers’ zone-run scheme, controlling Newhouse at the point of attack and pushing him into the backfield. The most direct anecdote for a zone scheme is a defensive end that can get penetration, forcing the running back to either cut inside or ride the “hump” around an obstructive corner the defensive end has created.

While Rodgers had tons of passing yards, you can’t put much of the blame on Pierre-Paul and Tuck, who won a majority of their battles on the edge and brought consistent pressure on the Packers’ signal caller. Pierre-Paul, once again, exerted great leverage on Newhouse in his pass rush, using his enormous wingspan and superb quickness on inside and outside moves.

On the Packers’ final drive, the Giants moved Tuck down to defensive tackle to match him up with another sub, right guard Evan Dietrich-Smith. Lining Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora or Mathias Kiwanuka on the edge dictated that Tuck would get a one-on-one with a less-athletic protector in Dietrich-Smith.

Watching the tape, we counted two wins for Tuck on Green Bay’s final, four-play drive against the Packers’ right guard. He showed outstanding quickness on those rushes; Rodgers just got the ball out quicker.

Nonetheless, these are the kinds of things you see on tape that give you a greater appreciation for how a pass rushing duo can impact a game.

“Playbook” — the ultimate football Xs and Os show — airs Friday at 8 p.m. ET (AFC) and 9 p.m. ET (NFC) on NFL Network. Check the NFL Network broadcast schedule for further details. Follow “Playbook” on Twitter @NFLN_Playbook.

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