In two short seasons, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has become the central force of a New York Giants line that ranks among the game's best.
His 16.5 sacks in 2011 ranked fourth in the league behind Jared Allen, DeMarcus Ware and Jason Babin. JPP might have been as valuable to his team as any of them, but he isn't done.
"I knew I was going to come in and have a great year (in 2011), but not like that," Pierre-Paul told "Mike and Mike" on ESPN Radio on Tuesday. "Just like this year, I'm going to come in and do better than I did last year. ... I think I should do even more. 16.5 (sacks), I didn't even know I was going to do that, but I got it."
Among the best edge rushers in football, Pierre-Paul helped the Giants total 48 sacks, tied with the Baltimore Ravens for second-best in the NFL (the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles led with 50).
Pierre-Paul -- all of 23 years old -- gives credit to veterans Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora for his development. "They taught me a lot ... They just tell me, 'You know, just go out and play.' And if I'm having problems, I go to them. I look at them as a big brother. They just told me, 'Just play the game, and just be yourself.' And that's what I do."
People cite Eli Manning first, but in two Super Bowl runs over the past five seasons, New York's defensive-line play paved the way for those championships. Again, a rotation of very bad men badgered Tom Brady and the New England Patriots on a national stage, and for some, there was a sense of déjà vu. It has much more to do with New York's commitment to restocking a line that might be the NFL's finest, now led by one of its youngest stars.