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Giants’ Beason healthy as defense learns new system

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The Sports Xchange

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — What a difference a year has made for New York Giants linebacker Jon Beason.

A year ago during an offseason practice, the linebacker landed awkwardly while covering a pass play and was carted off the field.

Thus began yet another frustrating odyssey for the oft-injured linebacker, who tried to avoid season-ending surgery through rest but ultimately couldn’t do it.

These days, the 30-year-old is singing a much different tune when it comes to his health.

“Extremely happy,” he said. “I am able to run around. It feels great. Change of direction feels good.

“It is literally a non-issue,” he added, admitting that the medical staff is controlling his reps during organized team activities to not risk any setbacks.

Besides being renewed physically, Beason said he feels like a rookie again this year.

That’s because he and the rest of his teammates are trying to get last year’s 30th-ranked defense — a unit that was wrecked by injuries and poor plays — healthy again.

To accomplish that, the players are trying to learn a new system being installed by coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, a system that Beason characterized as an aggressive, attacking style that has rejuvenated the players.

“Yeah, it makes you feel young again,” he said, smiling. “You are sitting there in meetings and you obviously have to pay attention and go home every day and get ready for the next install. Not even just watching myself, but watching everybody. Every rep that I can get, mentally, on the iPad has been clutch so far — just trying to go through it and get familiar with it so you know it like the back of your hand.”

The difference between what Spagnuolo is running and what former coordinator Perry Fewell ran is in the methods. While the desired result is the same, how they get there is what varies, Beason said.

“We have some things that are unsound; but, based on the pressure, that is the illusion,” he said. “When you send eight and it looks like an all-out pressure but really you are dropping some linemen in coverage.

“Some man pressures. We do it all. I would say, more so than any other scheme I have been in, we do more than anything else.

“You don’t want to sit back. Eli (Manning) and company; these quarterbacks are extremely good. They are elite. They study us. We obviously have tendencies and they obviously have tendencies, but when you just sit back and stay in the same call, it is easy for them.

“So you make it hard and make them have to do some things post-snap where maybe we can steal a play and get an interception or a turnover. Get the ball back to our offense and hopefully win more games.”

As the middle linebacker, Beason will be at the center of all of the navigating done by the defense.

“Yeah, as a Mike ‘backer, the onus is on me to get guys lined up and in the right situation,” he said. “The good thing about this defense is coach Spags puts pressure on everybody. Everyone has their own OBWs — ‘oh by way’ — little tidbits that if this happens, that is when we have to be ready for it.”

Beason, who told SiriusXM NFL Radio last week that the defense is “complex,” nodded when asked whether the defense was easy to learn.

“I think we can learn whatever we want. We are great athletes because we chose to do it,” he said. “Whether you are playing the piano, whatever it is, you put the time into the things you really want and that is what we have to do.

“Right now everyone is doing a great job just taking ownership of what they have to do, and we are going from there.”

The goal for Beason and the Giants is to rejuvenate a unit that sank to 30th in the NFL last season.

“It doesn’t add up to our standard obviously,” he said of last year’s ranking. “We want to be great. That is what Big Blue is all about. Obviously, the offense has done a great job over the years, but we think we go as the defense goes.

“We have to go out there and we have to play. It is all about what happens between the lines. Anything can happen once you play the game. All of that stuff just fuels the fire.”

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