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NY Post: Raw Pierre-Paul eager to learn


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Raw Pierre-Paul eager to learn

By PAUL SCHWARTZ

Last Updated: 5:34 AM, August 6, 2010

Posted: 3:32 AM, August 6, 2010

ALBANY — It is not a reach to suggest Jason Pierre-Paul’s reach will greatly aid in his ability to reach the heights the Giants expect him to reach.

Being a rookie with remarkable physical gifts — most notably a pterodactyl-like 81-inch wingspan — gives Pierre-Paul an athletic advantage that, at least immediately, should offset the obvious rawness to his game as he takes his first baby steps in his football development. It is frightening how much he doesn’t know, but also enlightening to hear how much he predicts he’ll accomplish.

“Once I get coached it’s going to be on, you know what I mean?†Pierre-Paul said yesterday with a glint in his eyes. “I’ve been bouncing around and around, junior college here, junior college there and then University of South Florida, then NFL. Once I am coached it’s going to be on. It ain’t going to be a good fight to see, put it like that.â€

Boastful or boyish confidence? It’s too soon to tell, but this is no ordinary first-round pick prospect. The 21-year old has barely been in shoulder pads long enough to have much of anything down pat. He played one year of high school ball in Deerfield Beach, Fla., and then two years at two junior colleges. He showed up at South Florida last year one week before the start of the season as this statuesque stranger known by no one.

“They were all looking at me, crazy. I looked at ’em crazy too,†Pierre-Paul recalled. “I was bigger than them, but we all got along.â€

Few players arrive in the NFL with less fundamental experience. This is the first training camp he ever attended on any level and thus far he doesn’t look out of place. During yesterday’s morning practice he burst into the backfield so quickly that D.J. Ware barely had time to secure the handoff before he would have been leveled. His first step to the quarterback is quick as advertised and at 6-foot-5 and 270 pounds he’s not one of those rookies who needs to grow into his body.

Then there are his arms.

Coach Tom Coughlin described them as stretching “from here all the way to the street†and he was only slightly exaggerating. When he gets hold of an offensive lineman and locks his elbows, the opponent might as well be in the next county, as he’s so far from Pierre-Paul’s body that he needs to dial a one to connect.

Most often compared from a pure physical standpoint with Jevon “The Freak†Kearse — whose wingspan is a ridiculous 86 inches — Pierre-Paul calls his reach “fabulous†for the advantage it provides.

“In rushing the passer, stabbing, all that, I sense it, I just lock it out and they won’t be able to reach my shoulder pads and I can toss ‘em,†he said. “They just got to teach me up a little and I’ll be great.â€

Great may have to wait, but perhaps not long. Pierre-Paul with virtually no preparation was thrown into three games at South Florida without really knowing what he was doing, ascending from fourth on the depth chart to the starting lineup. His coming-out party came against Florida State with three tackles for losses, one sack, one forced fumble and two quarterback pressures. In seven starts he had 6 1⁄2 sacks, most likely the lightest resume for anyone selected No. 15 overall in the NFL Draft. That is why there are many skeptics when it comes to assessing just how good this guy is going to be.

To that, Pierre-Paul says the naysayers are missing the point. He has gotten this far even though he’s barely been coached. Just imagine what he’ll become with constant teaching at the NFL level.

“Every night I go through my playbook, if I don’t understand something I tell the coaches I don’t understand, I don’t care what it is,†Pierre-Paul said. “I don’t care what the players say, I’m just trying to understand.

“I feel like a sponge, you just soak it in and when you’re ready to release it you just squeeze it and you just release it. That’s what I am. When I learn the plays and stuff, when I’m ready to set it off, I just release it.â€

paul.schwartz@nypost.com

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Good luck to him. Raw is the understatement of the century.

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Wish we had him on our roster this year.  Good luck.

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“They were all looking at me, crazy. I looked at ’em crazy too,†Pierre-Paul recalled. “I was bigger than them, but we all got along.â€

Who is they?

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They were all looking at me, crazy. I looked at em crazy too, Pierre-Paul recalled. I was bigger than them, but we all got along.

sounds like USF teammates to me?

Who is they?

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“They were all looking at me, crazy. I looked at ’em crazy too,†Pierre-Paul recalled. “I was bigger than them, but we all got along.â€

Who is they?

sounds like USF teammates to me?

Perhaps I'm interpreting it negatively, but his comment sounds like a bit of a snub toward his teammates then.

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“They were all looking at me, crazy. I looked at ’em crazy too,†Pierre-Paul recalled. “I was bigger than them, but we all got along.â€

Who is they?

sounds like USF teammates to me?

Perhaps I'm interpreting it negatively, but his comment sounds like a bit of a snub toward his teammates then.

Nah, I don't read it that way.  That's how I think most of us would talk about a group of people we only just met--"they" and "I".  In context and with vocal inflection, probably no foul meant at all.

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I read it negative as well

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I don't. Kid is 6'5" 270 lb of freak. Most people would look at him funny.

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“They were all looking at me, crazy. I looked at ’em crazy too,†Pierre-Paul recalled. “I was bigger than them, but we all got along.â€

Who is they?

sounds like USF teammates to me?

Perhaps I'm interpreting it negatively, but his comment sounds like a bit of a snub toward his teammates then.

Nah, I don't read it that way.  That's how I think most of us would talk about a group of people we only just met--"they" and "I".  In context and with vocal inflection, probably no foul meant at all.

I'm interpreting his remarks as something like, "I was bigger and better than them but we still got along nonetheless." I may be being overly sensitive though.

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