“I’m looking forward to getting back out there and finally have some live rounds,” Beatty said. “I’ve been out here all camp working on getting the knee better. Now I get to go out there and just play. Before it was, ‘You’re practicing but not playing.’ Now all the chains are off, all the restrictions are off and you just get to go out there and have fun.
“I am expecting a lot from myself. I am going up against (Robert) Mathis, and it is his 11th year in the league. (I know) it’s a preseason game, but his intensity to the game and how he plays it; he will look at it as a regular-season game. Each snap he gets, he is going to give it his best. This is my marker of how well I have trained during the offseason to recover and get back to top shape.”
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If Mathis does play, Beatty couldn’t have chosen a more formidable opponent to face in his first game. Mathis led the NFL with 19.5 sacks last season and is a six-time Pro Bowler. Although it’s possible a player of Mathis’ stature might sit out a preseason game, he has been suspended for the first four games of the regular season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. So Mathis might try to play as many snaps as he can this month, knowing he will be idle in September.
If Mathis doesn’t play, and the Colts stick to the depth chart they released publicly, Beatty will face Bjoern Werner.
No matter who he’s blocking, Beatty should be ready. Each day in practice, he goes against two-time Pro Bowler Jason Pierre-Paul, who is determined to rebound from a two-sack, injury-shortened season.
Beatty started all 16 games last season. In 10 of them, the player next to him at left guard was Kevin Boothe, who now plays for the Oakland Raiders. In the other six games, James Brewer started at guard. The Giants’ new left guard is Geoff Schwartz. Communication among offensive linemen is critical. Beatty and Schwartz have worked together during practice, but need to pass their first test in the crucible of a game.
“It’s not as verbal in the game,” Beatty said. “In practice you have four or five reps and then you move on to something else. You rep it, you rep it again. In the game you may call that play one time, so you have to get it right the first time. So it’s going out there and it’s, ‘Okay, now you’ve got the whole playbook thrown at you at once.’ It’s a different type of feeling, it’s a different type of speed. You don’t know what’s going to come at you. You practice for it, you think about it, you communicate like, ‘What would we do in this situation?’ But you don’t know what combination of situations is going to come up. It’s that feeling that you try to prepare for in practice, but you’re not really going to know until you let the dogs loose.”
If Beatty is certain about anything, it is he will have no second thoughts about his surgically-repaired leg.
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“Do I have any questions?” he said. “No, it’s still my right leg, so I am pretty good with it. It is still not the right leg before the injury, but the doctors said that is going to take time, take it through its paces just to warm it up and loosen it up before you are ready to go. (The doctors) said you are good to go, you don’t have to worry about re-injuring it or any setbacks. In that aspect of it, I am not worried about it at all.”
Beatty was viewed as a building block on the offensive line in 2012, but neither he nor the team was pleased with the caliber of his play in 2013. Tomorrow night, he can take a big step back toward the level where he aspires to be.
Beatty intends to prove he belongs in that group.
- Cornerback Trumaine McBride like Beatty, has practiced regularly but didn’t play in the first two games as a precautionary measure. McBride, who had offseason hip surgery, will be on the field in Indianapolis.
In the season finale vs. Washington, McBride intercepted two passes, so it’s not surprising what his goal is tomorrow night.
“For me, it’s pretty much picking up where I left off last season,” said McBride, who intercepted several passes in training camp practices. “My mind frame was to get my hands on more interceptions and just build off what I did last year. Any time I go out there I’m looking forward to getting better and looking forward to actually playing in the game. Just practicing and not being able to play in a game gets a bit repetitive. I totally understand what the medical staff wants out of me, they want me to get healthy and just have to major setbacks.”