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What is one key stat the Giants defense is aiming to reduce?


There weren't a lot of numbers to boast about last season on defense, but in review, one was more painful than the rest.

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So much that it was the first thing out of Steve Spagnuolo's mouth after introducing himself to the players as the Giants' new defensive coordinator.

"There's a number that he mentioned the first day that we started our offseason program," middle linebacker Jon Beason recalled this week on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "After he said his name, it was '1,507' -- he made everybody write it down -- and that's the amount of yards that we gave up after contact. So not so much just scheme, but getting guys down at the first opportunity, we can go from 29 (the Giants' 2014 rank in total yards allowed) right into the early teens, close to a top-10 defense, just based on getting guys on the ground. So 1,507, we want to eliminate that number, and that's something that we've worked on really hard throughout the offseason."

A top-10 defense is exactly what Spagnuolo had in 2007 and 2008 during his first stint with the Giants.

His first season, of course, was the magical run to Super Bowl XLII, where they held the New England Patriots' record-setting offense to 14 points for the victory. Drafted out of Miami that same year by the Carolina Panthers, Beason marveled at Spagnuolo's crew that came up big time after time.

"I've been a big fan of Spags since 2007," Beason said. "I came in as a rookie watching the Giants go out and win a Super Bowl and how much freedom [former linebacker] Antonio Pierce had to kind of sit there and make the checks when the quarterback made the checks. So it was just fun to watch from afar. Being in it, I realize, hey, there's a lot more pressure on myself and the whole crew. But it just makes us that much better when you put yourself in position to be successful pre-snap and then you can go out there and let your athletic ability take over."

It was through talking to players like Pierce and people at the Giants' facility who were around during Spagnuolo's first run that Beason then got to know him as a man.

"They couldn't say enough nice things about him as a person," Beason said. "And then getting the opportunity to meet him, you realize that he's all ball. He loves it, and he loves to scheme. That's what makes it fun."

Another thing that will bring a smile to Beason's face is getting back on the field.

Limited to just four games in 2014 because of season-ending toe surgery, the defensive co-captain is looking forward to his ninth NFL training camp and third with the Giants.

The Giants report to the Quest Diagnostics Training Center on July 30 with the first practice being held the following day.

"I'm excited," Beason said. "I've been able to train. Obviously when the game's taken away from you, it's painful. You're just champing at the bit to get back out there and to prove to people that you're still who you say you are and you're more than capable of being the same caliber of player that you used to be."

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