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That’s changed now, and he has still excelled.

His 16 1/2 sacks were the most by a Giant since Michael Strahan had 18 1/2 in 2003. His 29 quarterback hits were 19 more than any other teammate and his 23 tackles for losses were 10 more than linebacker-defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka, who was second in that category for New York.

“First off, he’s an athlete,” Kiwanuka said. “He probably can do a number of things on the football field but at the position he is at, he definitely excels. His understanding of what our defense is asking him to do, and you combine that with the point in the season where people started focusing on him and he adjusted to all the double teams and shifts and all that kind of stuff. He’s definitely a professional now.”

After being taken with the 15th pick overall in the first round in 2010, Pierre-Paul had to learn how to play in the NFL.

“This year, I know all the calls and I’m not thinking as much,” the former South Florida star said. “Last year, it was on and off, I was a little slow on that, so they allowed me to play slower. My pass rush is better, run defense is better. Everything is coming to mind quicker.”