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Beatty Ready to Play


The Giants' third-year pro recently became engaged to Rebecca Helwig, whom he met when they were students at the University of Connecticut. They plan to wed next February – after Super Bowl XLVI.

Beatty's professional life is also on the ascent. When the Giants held their initial training camp practice today, Beatty was the first-team left tackle. The job is his to lose on the Giants' new-look offensive line.

Beatty said he saw his name listed with the starters in the offensive line meeting room, but no one specifically anointed him as the starter. But he didn't need to be told.

"I basically knew coming in it was going to be (my) spot," Beatty said. "Since I got here they were saying, 'We drafted you for left tackle, so this is the spot that's going to be yours, make sure when you have this chance you don't blow it.'

"Coming in here knowing that I got that starting left tackle (job) and it's mine, it's a good feeling," Beatty said. "The last two years, they were preparing me for this, but just having that spot is a good feeling."

Beatty has been groomed to take over at left tackle since he was selected on the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft. In his first two seasons, he played in 24 games with six starts – four at right tackle in 2009 and two at left tackle in 2010. Beatty has also played as an extra lineman/tight end/eligible receiver.

In 2010, Beatty and David Diehl shared training camps reps at left tackle, but the veteran retained his position with the starters. Beatty played in eight games with starts against Jacksonville and Washington. But he was inactive for seven games after breaking a bone in his right foot vs. Carolina on Kickoff Weekend.

Now Beatty has the vital job of protecting Eli Manning's blind side.

"Eli trusts me," Beatty said. "I've protected for him – it's not like this is my first start and I haven't been here. I've played some games at left tackle, right tackle, so I know what they expect from me. It's all the great things you can do, you keep doing that and all the things you messed up, you get rid of them."

The Giants have broken up their old gang on the offensive line. Shaun O'Hara and Rich Seubert, who played 215 combined games for the team, were released earlier this week. David Baas was signed as a free agent from the San Francisco 49ers to replace O'Hara at center. Diehl slides over from tackle to play left guard with Beatty stepping in at tackle. The right side of the line remains unchanged, with three-time Pro Bowler Chris Snee at guard and Kareem McKenzie playing tackle.

Diehl should have a smooth transition to guard. Now the longest-tenured Giants player, the nine-year veteran has played every position on the line but center. He started 15 games at left guard in both 2005 and 2006.

"With Rich gone and Shaun gone they needed to move me to solidify and help with the offensive line in the middle," Diehl said. "I've always been a team guy, I've always been a guy up to the challenge. That's one of the things that I've always done is been able to play all of the positions.  For those who were out this offseason (to watch the players workouts) they saw me play a little tight end. I just want to win football games and I want to get back to doing what I love and that's playing football and being a part of it and if this is the best way for us to get back to the Super Bowl and win football games I'll do it and I've always been that way."

In addition to doing his own job, Diehl will help the Giants by mentoring Beatty.

"He's been a guy who has worked extremely hard to get his shot and his opportunity," Diehl said. "Obviously, I believe in our O-line coach Pat Flaherty and they have a plan and this is what they want to do and this is the way that they want to go. I'm sitting next to him as well. I'm going to be talking to him trying to get him on the same page and teaching him. That's the one thing about me playing that position the last four years, I can help him out. I can help him see things. I can help him do things."

Baas, a 6-4, 330-pounder, is a seven-year veteran who has played in 63 consecutive games and made 41 consecutive starts. Last year in San Francisco, he started every game at center one year after starting every game at left guard. He has also played right guard.

Because of the transition rules relating to the new CBA, Baas (pronounced boss) is not permitted on the practice field until Thursday. But he is confident he will quickly learn the offense and the calls he must make in the middle of the line.

"I'm a smart guy and I'll be able to pick up the playbook pretty fast," Baas said. "In San Francisco I had six different coordinators in six years and six playbooks. It's a new playbook, but you transfer things and it should be a smooth transition."

O'Hara and Seubert were immensely popular in the locker room, but Baas has no trepidation about joining what has traditionally been a close-knit line.

"There were some changes and you respect the guys who were here," Baas said. "I know Shaun and Rich had been here for a long time and I know it's a sudden change, but I'm excited to be here. I'm excited to get to know the guys and work with them and just go out there and play football and win a championship.

"I have the utmost respect for them and I know it was a weird situation. That's part of the business. I have to come in here and I have to do a job. I'm going to do everything I can to gain the trust of my teammates, especially the offensive line, and show them that I deserve to be here."

How well and how quickly the new offensive line comes together will be a critical factor in determining how successful the Giants are in 2011.

"I like who we have," Snee said. "I think the biggest adjustment that we have is just finding a group up front, five guys, that can work well together. Dave has to get used to guard and we have to get a new center in there. Having Kareem and I on the same side will help us out, because obviously we've been here a few years."

"It's not a whole new group," Manning said of the line. "Three of the starters who have been here the whole time are back. Everywhere else, I think you usually are dealing with one or two new guys on the offensive line every year. We've been very fortunate the last seven years to have the same offensive linemen. That is very rare. The guys have been here a couple of years that have learned from this crew should be able to step in.

"Will Beatty is going into this third year. He's played some. He's been around this group. He knows how to work and how to prepare for each practice. We brought in a veteran to play center in David. Those guys have to be able to communicate and be on the same page and get their comfort level up. With the amount of practice (time we have) and the way those guys work and stick together, it shouldn't be a problem."

*Tom Coughlin began his first post-practice news conference of training camp by discussing two players who have yet to put on a uniform, Plaxico Burress and Osi Umenyiora.

The coach spoke briefly about his meeting yesterday evening with Burress, the former Giants wide receiver who is looking to return to the league for the first time since 2008.

"Plaxico and I did have a nice conversation," Coughlin said. "I was very happy that he came in and we visited. I told him that the conversation would be confidential and that will be my position on it."

Asked if the Giants were still considering signing Burress, Coughlin said, "possibly."

Umenyiora, the two-time Pro Bowl defensive end who did not report for yesterday's camp opening, did arrive late this afternoon at the Timex Performance Center. But he did not take a physical and was not on the field.

"I did (talk to Umenyiora)," Coughlin said. "It was just a real quick conversation. We didn't have a chance to sit down and talk upstairs. He came in during the jog through this afternoon and I had a chance to see him and say hello. That's about it."

Asked if Umenyiora will be on the field tomorrow, Coughlin said, "we'll see."

*First-round draft choice Prince Amukamara remains unsigned and out of camp.

"I haven't heard much today but he better get in here," Coughlin said.

*Manning met the media and made it clear he's focused on the players that are in camp and not those who may or may not arrive later.

"We have young guys with (tight end) Travis Beckum and our receivers are very talented," Manning said. "With (Mario) Manningham coming on late in the season and having a bunch of touchdowns and a lot of catches and having Hakeem (Nicks) healthy, Victor Cruz and those guys, we have a number of wide receivers that have been successful and played well. We need them to continue to grow. We drafted a receiver (Jerrel Jernigan) and we drafted a running back (Da'Rel Scott), so it is all about guys working together and coming together as a team, everybody playing well and doing their responsibilities. I think we have the manpower to be an explosive offense and score a lot of points."

*In 2010, the Giants frequently deployed safeties Antrel Rolle, Kenny Phillips and Deon Grant on the field at the same time. Rolle, who was selected to his second straight Pro Bowl, often played close to the line. With Grant no longer with the team will Rolle revert to a more standard safety role?

"I'm not sure yet," Rolle said. "That goes a lot with game planning. Deon was a very key asset to our defense last year and if he is not here, I'm not sure if they are going to have someone step into his role or go into the more traditional safety look."

*Wide receiver Domenik Hixon returned to the field for the first time in 13 months. He missed the entire 2010 season after tearing a knee ligament in a minicamp practice on June 15.

Hixon said he has no reservations about his surgically-repaired knee.

"I'm not really concerned," he said. "(Friday), going through the physical, I talked to the doctors and they felt I was 100 percent. We're just going to keep a close eye on it and make sure it doesn't swell up or have any setbacks.  I feel 100 percent."

*The Giants announced the signing of offensive linemen David Baas, Chris White and Brant Clouser, tight end Christian Hopkins and punter Steve Weatherford, who will challenge incumbent Matt Dodge for the job.

Baas, 6-4 and 330 pounds, is projected to be the Giants' new starting center. He spent the first six years of his career with the San Francisco 49ers. He has played in 92 NFL games with 54 starts and has played in 63 consecutive games with 41 starts in a row. Baas was the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year in his senior season at Michigan.

White, 6-2, 303, is a seven-year veteran guard. He has played in 33 NFL games with eight starts, all with the Houston Texans in 2009. Last year, White played in six games for the Seattle Seahawks. White, a product of Southern Mississippi, entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Green Bay Packers in 2005. He played in one game that year and none in 2006, when he was waived by Green Bay and signed by Houston. He spent parts of three seasons with the Texans before joining the Seahawks on Nov. 3, 2010.

Clouser, 6-2 and 305, was a four-year starting guard at Villanova. He was a first team All-America and Colonial Athletic Conference first-team selection in his senior season last fall.

Hopkins, 6-5 and 255, played two seasons in the United Football League. He played four years at the University of Toledo where he caught 114 passes for 1,208 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Weatherford is a seven-year veteran who kicked in every game for the Jets the previous two seasons. He played three seasons for the New Orleans Saints, one apiece with Kansas City and Jacksonville and the last two for the Jets. He has 363 career regular season punts for a gross average of 42.9 yards and a net average of 36.9 yards. He has never had a punt blocked and has placed 114 kicks inside the 20-yard line.

In the last two years with the Jets, Weatherford punted 164 times for a gross average of 42.3 yards and a net average of 37.4 yards. In 2010, he had 84 punts for a 42.6-yard gross average and a 38.1-yard net average.

*With several players unsigned or ineligible to practice, the Giants' starting units looked like this for their first training camp practice:

Offense: QB Eli Manning, RB D.J. Ware, FB Henry Hynoski, TE Travis Beckum, WRs Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham, RT Kareem McKenzie, RG Mitch Petrus, C Chris Snee, LG David Diehl, LT Will Beatty.

Snee is holding the fort at center until Baas can practice on Thursday (he must sit out until then under the terms of the new CBA). But Coughlin appreciated his effort.

"He can snap the ball," Coughlin said of Snee, who has played seven years at right guard. "He did it mostly tonight, the whole time with the ones. We rotate them around. They all snap. I was very pleased the way he jumped in there. He jumped in there and assignment wise, he was making the calls and all of that stuff. It's a plus. You need all of those guys to do that inside."

The Giants had only nine offensive linemen on the field until Clouser arrived early in practice.

Adam Koets, who underwent knee surgery last year, was expected to practice but did not.

"He's supposed to be ready," Coughlin said. "This was one today that hit me right over the head.

It's the patella tendon (tendonitis). It's the same thing. (tendonitis resulting from his ACL surgery)."

Defense: DEs Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul, DTs Chris Canty and Linval Joseph, LBs Jonathan Goff, Michael Boley and Clint Sintim, CBs Corey Webster and Terrell Thomas and Ss Kenny Phillips and Antrel Rolle.

*Wide receiver Victor Cruz, who had a terrific preseason in 2010, made a couple of nice opening day catches…Aaron Ross intercepted a Sage Rosenfels pass and had a clear path to the end zone…Duke Calhoun and Devin Thomas both made impressive grabs of Rosenfels passes…A crowd of 976 attended the first-ever training camp practice at the team's Timex Performance Center complex.

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