In all the talk about the New York Giants’ defensive turnaround, the influence of middle linebacker Jon Beason seems to stand out above the rest.
Beason, a three-time Pro-Bowler, became a Giant following a trade in early October with the Carolina Panthers. Reportedly, the trade involved New York surrendering a seventh round draft pick to Carolina, in exchange for Beason. In his time with New York so far, Beason has definitely made an impact.
He has solidified the linebacker position, an area that has been void of any stellar talent for quite some time. Not only does he offer a fearsome presence in the middle, but his speed and athleticism allow him to be almost anywhere the ball is, at any time.
In only six games with the Giants, Beason has a combined 36 tackles, 25 of which he recorded unassisted. He also picked up his first interception of the season in last week’s game against the Green Bay Packers.
Almost immediately, Beason emerged as a difference maker.
Prior to acquiring Beason, the Giants defense had allowed opposing offenses to score at least 30 points in five straight games. No team has been able to accomplish this since Beason took over the starting middle linebacker position in Week 6. He also led the team in tackles for his first two starts, with 11 total tackles against the Chicago Bears and five total tackles against the Minnesota Vikings.
As impressive as these statistics may appear, even more impressive has been the nearly seamless transition Beason made into Big Blue. His abilities as a playmaker add to the overall performance of the defense in an arbitrary way; there is no question there.
But there is also much to be said about Beason’s leadership skills. Many have compared Beason to former Giants linebacker, and current ESPN analyst, Antonio Pierce. Pierce, who helped lead the team to a championship in 2007, was also highly regarded for his abilities as a leader in the huddle and on the field.
Beason has become a very vocal leader in a defense that had been a bit lackluster in the start of the season. Jon Herrman, the Giants’ linebackers coach, has stressed the importance of Beason’s on-field role, and has given him credit for tying up loose ends.
“When you have a guy like that, that one voice resonates to everyone on the field, and the results are you have 11 guys on the same page, which is good,” Herrman said in a press conference during the team’s bye week.
Not only does Beason add a veteran presence to the defense (the 28-year-old has been in the league since being drafted in 2007), but his personality has also been a major factor in his success thus far. Other veteran players and team leaders have made note of the energy Beason has brought to the team. Justin Tuck even referred to him as a “godsend.” He has also been friends with safety Antrel Rolle since the two played together at the University of Miami, which may have helped other players accept Beason more readily.
Beason has also acted as a team representative in the media as of late, speaking openly about feeling “snubbed” by being flexed out of primetime television last Sunday, as well as the importance of the team’s upcoming game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Additionally, he has openly expressed his desire to remain a New York Giant until the end of his career, and possibly even after his playing days are over.
“I don’t plan on going anywhere, ever,” Beason told the media. If he continues to play the way he has been, the Giants may not plan for him to go anywhere, either.
Alexis Celluro | Featured Columnist
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