Post­mortem? No, post­sea­son

Orlando Sentinel - - COLLEGE FOOTBALL -

BUC­CA­NEERS

“The year we went to the Su­per Bowl with the Gi­ants, we were 9-7. All those guys on that team ral­lied up. Ev­ery­body came as one and con­nected. No mat­ter what the call was, we just got to beat the guy in front of us.”

That Gi­ants team fin­ished the sea­son by win­ning six straight (counting the post­sea­son) to claim the Lom­bardi Tro­phy, but it sat in a much bet­ter spot af­ter 10 games (6-4) than this team does. Pierre-Paul said it shows that win­ning six straight is pos­si­ble.

“You got to trust,” he said. “That’s how you build. You have to trust ev­ery­body on the team. … You’re go­ing to make mis­takes, but at the end of the day, if you trust the guy next to you, then you know you’re go­ing to do what­ever it takes for y’all to get the same job done.

“That’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween a Su­per Bowl and a play­off team. That’s why Tom Brady gets to the Su­per Bowl: be­cause he trusts Bill Belichick and ev­ery­body trusts in

Bill Belichick. That’s the same thing we’re got to do here, but ev­ery­body’s got to grasp it, not just me.”

Pierre-Paul re­turned to prac­tice af­ter miss­ing Wed­nes­day with a left knee in­jury, but he was wear­ing a large brace.

Pierre-Paul missed the en­tire pre­sea­son and the sea­son’s first seven games re­cov­er­ing from a neck in­jury he sus­tained in an off­sea­son car ac­ci­dent. He has played in four games and has been in on more than 91% of the team’s de­fen­sive snaps in each of the past three.

“It’s ba­si­cally still pre­sea­son for me,” Pierre-Paul said. “That was my fourth game, so my body was feel­ing a lot of bruises and con­tact last week. But I’m at a stage now where I’m ready to roll. Hope­fully, you’ll see a dif­fer­ence in next week and from four games to now. That’s ba­si­cally what it is. …

“This is a lot of work, no OTAs or any­thing, but ev­ery­thing is pos­si­ble if you just be­lieve in God.”

MARK ZALESKI/AP

Buc­ca­neers line­backer Ja­son Pierre-Paul is con­fi­dent Tampa Bay can still be­come a play­off team in the NFC this sea­son.

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