Giants’ Rookie Beatty Replaces McKenzie In Must-Win Game Against Redskins

Published on: 18th December, 2009

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Giants' Rookie Beatty Replaces McKenzie In Must-Win Game Against Redskins  | read this item

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Will Beatty will make the second start of his young career for the Giants Monday night in Washington and he can see one advantage over the first one.

“I got my first start jitters behind me,” Beatty said today, “and now I can go with the rest of the vets and perform.”

Not to give him any new jitters, but the Giants need him to do that in a big way when he plays right tackle against the Redskins in an NFC East game that will be critical to their postseason aspirations.

Beatty, the 2009 second-round draft choice from Connecticut, will step in for Kareem McKenzie, who sprained the medial collateral ligament in his knee in the 45-38 loss to Philadelphia last Sunday. Tom Coughlin said Monday that the team’s medical staff said McKenzie would be sidelined “a couple weeks.” Although Coughlin pointed out then that McKenzie is traditionally a fast healer, Coughlin said today nothing that has happened since then has changed that prognosis.

So Beatty looks to step up and play well in a big game. He started and played the entire game against Arizona on Oct. 25, which McKenzie missed because of a groin injury, and played the entire second half last week against the Eagles.

“I think I did pretty well,” Beatty said. “I had (right guard) Chris Snee helping me a lot, more than anyone should be in a game. So now I need to make sure that I know what I am doing and I am making calls out there and am participating in the actual call making and things along those lines.”

“He is a good, young football player,” Coughlin said. “We have asked him to play a number of spots. He has played left tackle, he has played tight end, right tackle and has done a good job. He is going to have to do another good job.

Beatty was the 60th overall selection in this year’s draft and the third player chosen by the Giants, after Hakeem Nicks and Clint Sintim. His head coach at UConn was Randy Edsall, who was on the Coughlin’s staff in Jacksonville from 1995-97.

“We talked some,” Coughlin said. “He highly endorsed him.”

On draft day, the Giants’ decision-makers lauded Beatty’s athleticism and quick feet, attributes they believe will eventually help make him an outstanding left tackle. They have also helped him serve as an extra tight end on numerous occasions. But because McKenzie is the only lineman to miss a start this season, Beatty’s most important assignment has been at right tackle.

“He has worked hard, he has studied,” Coughlin said. “He is a good athlete. We knew that – that is why he is here. He is a very good athlete. There is just an awful lot to learn at this level and that normally is the barrier that guys have to overcome. And he is still working at that.”

Beatty was asked where his most significant improvement has been since the start of the season.

“It’s more of the knowledge of the game, playing with confidence,” he said. “Before, it was blocking people – is this my guy? Second-guessing myself. So now it’s finishing the plays, getting more aggressive. If I have the guy across from me worried about me, then he is not worried about the ball or who is running it. It’s a mind game, so I am more in it.”

Washington’s left defensive end is Phillip Daniels, who has started every game this season without recording a sack. But Beatty also should see plenty of strongside linebacker Brian Orakpo, the rookie who was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week after his four-sack performance in Oakland last week and is tied for the team lead with 11.0 sacks.

“They were a great defense the first time we played them,” Beatty said of the Giants’ 23-17 victory on opening day, when his only action was on special teams. “It’s not going to be the same team we are going up against, so think the best and prepare for the worst. I just have to make sure that I have my footwork, my steps down, I am staying low, I am punching, so whatever twist game they do I can pick it up and am not a step behind. It’s going to be different going away, you have the crowd noise and things along those lines.”

This week and in the game, Beatty will receive help from a strong support system – the Giants’ other offensive linemen. In addition to being highly skilled, it is a close-knit group in which the players watch each other’s back.

“(David) Diehl has been in my ear, I had Kareem make sure that I know what I am doing,” Beatty said. “I have changed my seat in the meeting room, I am now sitting beside him, just to make sure my notes are right and I am actually doing what I need to be doing. I have great support from my teammates and my coaches, they all believe in me and trust that I have the ability, so I just have to go up and show it.”

In the game against the Cardinals, Snee constantly talked to Beatty to make sure the youngster understood his assignments and to help prepare him for what the Cardinals were going to throw at him.

“I have a good understanding of what is going on,” Snee said. “I can remember back to when I was a rookie and Shaun (O’Hara) and Dave kind of helping me out. So it goes with the territory of being a veteran and helping out the young guy.”

Snee was asked if he’ll have to offer help to Beatty as frequently Monday as he did two months ago.

“I don’t know. I’ll do whatever is necessary,” Snee said. “I like for us to be on the same page, so if it’s required, I will. It’s not an inconvenience to me – I’ll just have no voice after the game. It’s something that I am more than willing to do.”

Diehl can understand the challenges Beatty faces. Like Snee, he started every game in his rookie season (as the right guard in 2003). Diehl also started at right tackle in 2004 (he has started all 116 regular and postseason games the Giants have played in his career).

“He is a guy that’s played in some games,” Diehl said. “He knows what it’s going to be like. He knows that game speed. It’s about him putting it together for an entire game. The most important thing that I stress to him is make sure he studies, make sure he is in his playbook, is 100 percent confident on his assignments and the most important thing is studying his opponents and make sure he learns from what he did last week. They are going to watch film and are going to see what happened last week, see if there’s anything they can do to use that against him. I remember as a rookie, they are going to intimidate you, they are going to try and do that stuff. You are in the NFL for a reason, because of the characteristics that you have and the type of player that you are. It’s all about just going out there and relaxing and enjoying the process and playing.

“I can help him watch film and his technique, but when game time comes it’s you as an individual. You have your own number; your name is on the back of your jersey. Obviously, we are all going to rally around him, we are all going to be there to support him, but this is his chance. This is his opportunity to step up and show why he is here.”

*In addition to McKenzie, three other players did not practice today: cornerback Corey Webster (knee), running back Ahmad Bradshaw (ankles/knee) and wide receiver Mario Manningham (illness).

Webster also hurt his knee against the Eagles, though Coughlin said he was “day-to-day.” Asked if Webster may return to the practice field this week, Coughlin said, “I’m hoping.” Webster said this afternoon that he expects to play.

Coughlin did not say who would play cornerback if Webster is sidelined. Aaron Ross, the starting corner last year opposite Webster, has played safety since returning to action last month after missing the first nine games with a hamstring injury. Coughlin didn’t directly answer a question about Ross’ possible return to cornerback.

Bradshaw has seldom practiced early in the week this season because of his ongoing ankle and foot issues.

The only other player on the Giants’ injury list is Eli Manning, who practiced fully and whose foot injury has not caused him to miss any practice or game time in several weeks.

*For the Redskins, right tackle Stephon Heyer (knee) did not practice. Defensive tackles Albert Haynesworth (ankle) and Cornelius Griffin (shoulder), cornerback DeAngelo Hall (knee), safety Kareem Moore (ankle) and fullback Mike Sellers (quad) were limited.

*Defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka has been voted the winner of the ninth annual George Young Good Guy Award by the Giants’ chapter of the Professional Football Writers of America.

The award, named for the late general manager of the Giants, is given annually to honor a Giants player for his consistent and outstanding cooperation with the writers who cover the team on a daily basis. Kiwanuka, in his fourth NFL season, distinguished himself by being constantly available to the media and patiently answering questions in a difficult season for the Giants’ defense.

Kiwanuka is the second member of the Giants’ defensive line to win the award in the last three years. Previous winners of the award were:

2008 – QB Eli Manning

2007 — DE Justin Tuck

2006 — WR Plaxico Burress

2005 — RB Tiki Barber

2004 — QB Kurt Warner

2003 — WR Ike Hilliard

2002 — QB Kerry Collins

2001 — OL Lomas Brown

*A couple of statistical leftovers from the Philadelphia game:

Manning’s career-high 391-yard passing game was the 10th 300-yard game of his career. That broke a tie with Hall of Famer Y.A. Tittle and moved him into third place on the Giants’ career list, behind only Phil Simms (21) and Kerry Collins (17).

*Jeff Feagles’ three punts increased his NFL-record total to 1,701. He has exactly 300 more punts than the No. 2 man on the NFL’s career list, former Giant Sean Landeta, who retired with 1,401 punts. Landeta will be in Washington on Monday night as the sideline reporter on Westwood One’s national radio broadcast.

 

 

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