Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul showed up at minicamp Tuesday and dismissed any concerns that missing organized team activities has him playing catch-up.
“Can you make up? Of course. Like I said, I’m a pro. Even though I wasn’t here I was at home studying and making sure I know the calls, the installs,” Pierre-Paul said Tuesday in his media briefing. “That’s just something you do. You keep (doing) your work, keep working out — every day I woke up at 6 a.m. and went to the gym, got out of there at 8 a.m.”
Pierre-Paul was acquired from the New York Giants this offseason for a third-round draft pick and the two teams traded fourth-round selections.
Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter was not concerned by Pierre-Paul’s absence at OTAs and also did not foresee any problems with the veteran getting up to speed.
“Number one, the guy’s got experience and it’s not like he’s playing quarterback,” said Koetter. “So, it’s no big secret why he was brought here. He was brought here to rush the passer and he probably didn’t forget how. If he’s been working out like he says he has been, then I’m sure it’s going to pay off for us down the line.”
Returning to the state where he starred collegiately at the University of South Florida, Pierre-Paul is part of a revamped defensive line that includes first-round draft pick Vita Vea. Tampa Bay’s defense rank last in yards allowed and sacks last season.
“The expectations, man, for every team is to win the Super Bowl, right? That’s the expectations for basically every team,” said Pierre-Paul. “Every year you come in and you think you’re going to do it, but the reality is, it’s not like that. … It’s not just saying it, it’s actually doing it.”
Pierre-Paul, 29, had 8.5 sacks in 2017 with the Giants, who entered last season with lofty aspirations but wound up with the league’s second-worst record.
“Yeah, you see what happened. Like I said, I’ve been on a Super Bowl team, I’ve been on teams that expected to be in the Super Bowl and never went to the Super Bowl,” said Pierre-Paul. “When it comes to a Super Bowl team it’s all about the communication and respect that you’ve got for guys, and everybody coming together. There’s no beef in between.”
Pierre-Paul spent all eight of his first NFL seasons with the Giants but said he feels “blessed” to be back in his native Florida.
“It feels like a dream. To be honest it feels like a dream, I’m still dreaming,” said Pierre-Paul. “Being in red, it’s a big change in my career. It’s been eight years with the Giants and now I’m here for Year Nine. It’s a big change, but I’m ready and I’m up for it. I’m up for the change and I know I’m going to bring my best game and show those guys, too.”