New York Giants
Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel |
The last time linebacker Jon Beason made it through a 16-game season was in 2010, as a member of the Panthers. These days Beason, who last year was on injured reserve with toe and foot issues, is hoping to snap that dry spell.
"I am in great shape; I am running around and changing directions and everything feels good," Beason said at the start of the team's offseason program. "I am just being smart and continuing to focus on those little muscles and not do too much and a lot is based on recovering."
Despite the progress he has made physically, Beason wasn't sure if he will be cleared medically by the training staff to participate in all offseason drills.
"The problem with training is it is hard to simulate pushing into another man or making a tackle. That is the toughest part about trying to get ready to gauge where you are physically, but in terms of training, I have had an outstanding offseason."
The Giants are going to need him for all 16 games, especially after losing safety Antrel Rolle, who was largely viewed as the heart and soul of the defense for the last few years.
Beason, who last year was elected as a co-captain, has a slightly different approach to how he plans to lead the defense, especially with a new system being installed.
"I think leadership boils down to want-to. People follow the guy who is really there for a purpose and a reason. If that reason is to be productive and win football games at all costs, then guys tend to follow you," he said.
"For me and this team, I am challenging guys to lead by being on time, staying late and studying, by trying to be blameless and do their job at a high level and be consistent at it.
"All the stuff about necessarily being vocal and the 'rah-rah' guys, at the end of the day that is not what leaders are. You lead by example first and that is what I have always done."
Beason's point about challenging his teammates to do the little things is especially key with a new system about to be installed. Currently, the players can't engage in any football discussions with the coaching staff due to CBA rules, but the players were able to come away with a very generic sense of what to expect.
"We got in today and you get a chance to kind of see (coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's) style, in terms of preparing for a team and going over some philosophies and core principles and some objectives that we want to get done in this offseason," he said.
"(Spagnuolo) is very sharp. He is passionate about what he is doing and he is never going to limit himself to just doing one thing. You have to be able to change on the fly. Be a thinker and think outside the box and that part of it puts a lot of pressure on you now. We can't be (at the facility) but for so long, so (we) are going to have to go home and study like a rookie."
One thing Beason has been able to do to prepare himself for what lies ahead is have conversations with former Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce, who captained Spagnuolo's defenses for the Giants in 2007 and 2008.
"I was a big fan of Antonio Pierce. When I watched him it was more so what he did for his fellow teammates," Beason said. "The way he got them in the right defense and was able to not be dictated by the offense and that made me a big fan of Spags.
"I did have a conversation with Antonio Pierce and Jonathan Vilma and they all had good things to say about him. I am looking forward to it and just trying to do my part and make sure I live up to the hype."
By now, the accomplishments from receiver Odell Beckham Jr.'s rookie season are well-known.
As a rookie, Beckham finished with 1,305 yards on 91 receptions with 12 touchdowns, playing in just 12 games, his receiving yards placing him 10th in the league last year.
Believe it or not, there is still a lot of room for improvement for the second-year receiver, according to his quarterback.
"There are still some mis-throws," Eli Manning said. "A lot of things, we didn't get the reps on the timing, so some of the timing throws because we didn't have a whole lot of time to practice. We didn't have an offseason. We didn't have a training camp to practice those things."
All of the timing patterns will certainly be a focus for Manning and Beckham once the players are able to begin working on the field this spring. Manning noted that Beckham's advanced route-running and ability to separate should be a big help in getting the other things to fall into place.
"Odell was doing a great job of getting separation and winning on things, and he does have great body control and he is precise in his route-running, so it makes it easier to be on the same page without a whole lot of practice," he said.
"I think we can definitely get better with our timing. There were still some miscues and definitely room for improvement."
Manning said he is not concerned with his contract situation.
Manning is entering the final year of his deal, but he insisted that his focus is on getting the Giants back into the playoffs.
"I have a job to do and that is to play football and that is my only concern, so I have never got too caught up with contract stuff," he said, adding that he would be comfortable playing out this season.
"The way I look at it is that I have one more year and I am going to play that one more year and go from there."
As for his on-field goals, Manning said he is targeting a 70 percent completion percentage. Last season, Manning finished with a 63.1 completion percentage.
"Overall completion percentage, you aim for that 70 percent again," he said. "I think of that from a game-to-game standpoint. I want to be 70 percent for this game. It might not happen every single game, but if you can go for that by game, sometimes you might not get it, and for the season it might not be 70 percent, but each game shoot for that 70 percent."
The other major goal is to reduce his interceptions to single-digits for the first season since 2004, his rookie year where in nine games with seven starts, he threw nine interceptions.
"I had 14 last year. I would like to get that in single digits. I think that is kind of a goal every year," he said. 'You would obviously like to have zero, but understanding football and funny things can happen, so one every two games (is the) mindset."
Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul was not in attendance at the start of the team's offseason conditioning program. Pierre-Paul, the Giants franchise player, has not signed his one-year tender worth $14.813 million.
Although the offseason program is voluntary, Pierre-Paul is unlikely to show up until he either signs his tender or reaches agreement on a new long-term contract. That is unlikely to happen until the start of training camp.
Pierre-Paul meanwhile continues to train for the 2015 season at an offsite location.
Running back Shane Vereen said he is planning to visit the White House later in the week with his former teammates. President Barack Obama will host the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots on Thursday (April 23).