Beason’s rehab of his foot is going so well, he can see himself playing in a preseason game.
“I would hope so,” he said. “Obviously, you don’t win in the preseason. You don’t put much stock in them, but you need them to get ready. The one thing you can’t simulate, even in practice, is tackling. Live speed tackling to the ground is something you’ve got to do. You start off the first preseason game a little sloppy and by the time the second, third preseason game rolls around, you’re good and you’re back into that normal routine.”
Beason could play in Detroit without seeing any preseason action, but would prefer not to.
“Unfortunately I’ve done it before (when he was with Carolina) and I hate it more than anything,” he said. “You want to get that cohesiveness with the guys that you’re going to be playing with. You’re expected to play every single down. I am. That’s where the conditioning, the cardio, all that stuff comes into play. If you want to play at a high level more consistently, you have to have that game shape, that football shape and that’s what you miss when you don’t have training camp. That’s why you don’t just show up on the eighth and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to play football.’ That part of it is always tough. Mentally, I think I’ll be okay. I can handle it.”
Although he wants to accelerate the timing of his return, Beason doesn’t want to risk aggravating the injury by stepping on the field too soon.
“If you go too fast, you have a setback and now all of a sudden you’re pushing that timetable of September 8, so we want to be smart about it,” he said. “I’m going to do what they tell me, but I would love to get in during the preseason and get some reps.”
In an organized team activity on June 12, Beason suffered a ligament tear and a small fracture to the sesamoid in his right foot. He did not undergo surgery. While his teammates took a month off after minicamp ended, Beason spent much of his time here, diligently working to heal his foot.
His efforts have paid off. On Tuesday, Tom Coughlin was asked a general question about the linebackers and responded in part by citing Beason in saying, “we are really excited about the fact that he seems to be doing really well.”
Beason has begun to run, though not on hard ground.
“We’re on the underwater treadmill so the water is up to (his throat), so it’s about 90% of the body,” he said. “We’re just being really smart about it. You have bench marks, like, ‘Hey, we’re going to start doing this at six weeks, get a little more aggressive.’ I think I’m a little superhuman. I heal a little faster. At the end of the day, six weeks, that’s what the timetable calls for so you listen and try to do right.”
Beason is one of the Giants’ most valuable defensive players. He arrived in a trade last Oct. 4 and ended the season as the team’s second-leading tackler (with 98), despite starting only 11 games. With the offseason departure of Justin Tuck, Beason is expected to assume a greater leadership role on defense.
In his absence, the void in the middle of the first-team defense has been filled by Jameel McClain, who signed with the Giants in March after six seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. McClain was penciled in as the strongside backer and will likely return there when Beason is healthy.
McClain said he does not need to play a preseason game with Beason to develop a rapport with him.
“We build chemistry in the film room,” McClain said. “We build it on the practice field, too, but just understanding how a person thinks is the most important part. How they play that comes together, but if I know what Jon sees as a scheme, then I know how to play off of the scheme. I learn that in the film room. I learn all of those things. I wouldn’t say it is a need. What we need is him to be healthy and be who he is, and take his time to get to where he needs to be. Not just what we need, but what Jon needs. The game will come one way or another.”
Beason hopes it comes for him quickly.