Jon Beason might have training camp reps limited

Few Giants defensive players have expressed more excitement than Jon Beason about playing in a new scheme under defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

But in order for Beason to fill the "Mike" role that Antonio Pierce did for Spagnuolo, he has to stay on the field, and it sounds as if the Giants are going to handle the veteran linebacker with caution in order to make that happen. 

Beason, speaking with Bruce Murray and Rich Gannon on Sirius XM NFL Radio, said that while he's "chomping at the bit" to hit the field again after missing all but two games in 2014 with a toe injury, the Giants will probably limit his reps initially. 

"I'm sure the Giants will force me into being smart about reps and the workload, I'll do what I can to listen them, but at the same time, do what I have to do to prepare and get ready for the season," Beason said. 

While Beason is months removed from surgery, and participated in most offseason practices, he indicated that the toe will require continuous maintenance to get through a full season — from regular taping to orthotics, to special-made cleats.

Beason believes that the toe injury is a result of wear and tear brought in by the proliferation of field turf in the NFL as opposed to grass. 

"A big part of it is the turf, it's not great for our bodies and it changes based on position," Beason said. "They'll come to learn that it's unforgiving and learning how to plant and cut on it is key. If you're an older guy, like I never played on turf in high school, I was well into college before this turf thing became big. I always played on grass, where you learn how to cut and plant and you know the limitations of grass, how it gives. I think the younger kids have a better understanding of turf because they play on it at a younger age." 

But with his injury issues hopefully behind him, Beason now is tasked with helping the Giants improve their 29th-ranked defense. He told Gannon and Murray that he likes the fact that the defense will dictate to the offense, not vice versa, and revealed that Spagnuolo has one recipe for improving the Giants' ranking: Eliminating yards after contact. 

"There's a number that [Spagnuolo] mentioned the first day that we started our offseason program, it's 1,507, that's the amount of yards we gave up after contact," Beason said. "Not so much scheme, but getting guys down at the first opportunity. We can go from 29 to the early teens, close to a top=10 defense, just based on getting guys on the ground. 1,507 we want to eliminate that number, that's something that we worked on really hard this offseason, proper leverage, technique, and tackling."

Of course, eliminating that extra yardage would be made easier with a certain defensive end in the lineup. The uncertainty surrounding Jason Pierre-Paul's availability for this season after getting his index finger amputated in a fireworks accident creates another challenge for Beason and the Giants' defense to overcome. 

Beason intimated that he reached out to Pierre-Paul about the "freakish" injury, but did not hear back. He could only say what many of his other teammates and ex-teammates have expressed about their star defensive end: Get better, and we'll welcome you with open arms when you return. 

"First thing you hope is that he's healthy and then how is he feeling as a person?" Beason said. "I'll tell you what, when you make a big mistake like this and it costs you and the people around you, the media's not so friendly. You read the reports, and you turn on the TV, and you feel for the guy because you know him, you know his intent, you know what type of guy he is, he's all in, he's a good-hearted person, and probably one of the most giving people believe it or not, that you will meet.

"You just hope that him as a person that he can come to terms with it, and hopefully there's some way to continue to play football because he had tremendous upside, very rare talent, and Giants nation still loves him and we wish him well."

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