EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Getting middle linebacker Jon Beason in a trade with the Carolina Panthers this month has been a steal for the New York Giants.
The seven-year veteran has led the Giants (1-6) in tackles in his two starts, and he has helped the defense turn things around.
In the past six quarters against the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings, the defense has given up three points. The Vikings' touchdown Monday night came on a punt return.
Beason, acquired for a late-round draft pick in 2014, was a question mark coming here. He played in five games in 2011 and '12 because of injuries and he had lost his starting job earlier this season. Many speculated he either had lost a step or was damaged good.
Beason said his problem with Carolina this season was moving out of the middle to the outside linebacker.
"Sometimes the spin on things publically doesn't mean that's what is going on," Beason said Wednesday after being one of the last players off the practice field after the practice for Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles. "You like to keep some things in-house and sometimes the outside perception is different than what is actually going.
Beason had microfracture surgery on his right knee last October and was still limited early this season. He took medication to reduce the swelling and didn't start feeling well until after the second game of the season, his last start before being benched.
"Maybe they were a little too fast to act," Beason said about the Panthers. "I feel good now and I can play like I am capable, even though I know I can be that much faster, that much stronger and in better shape."
His statistics are impressive. He had 12 tackles against the Bears and added nine more in the 23-7 win over the Vikings, a game New York held Adrian Peterson to 28 yards rushing on 13 carries.
Teammates and coaches have said Beason has been invaluable, making plays, lining up the defense before snaps and providing the calming influence one would expect from a three-time Pro Bowl player.
"The dude works, no matter whether it's a practice or in the weight room. The dude is a hard worker," defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said.
Veteran cornerback Terrell Thomas said Beason, who replaced Mark Herzlich as the starter, brings a tremendous knowledge of the game that allows him to recognize offenses and adjust quickly.
"He's a pro. He's a pro's pro," Giants coach Tom Coughlin added. "He's excited. He loves the game, he loves the competition. He's physical. When you listen to him you know there's confidence there. He is bright eyed, he's energetic. He's done a very nice job in a short amount of time."
Safety Antrel Rolle knew Beason before the trade and he said the 28-year-old former Miami product is on top of his game.
"He knows how to play the game," Rolle said. "It has never been about money. It's never been about fans. It's never been about any of those things. He loves the game from the bottom of his heart and I knew that."
Before the season, Beason restructured a six-year, $51.5 million contract extension that he signed in 2011. His contract runs out this year.
"This is where I want to be," Beason said. "Next year will be eight years for me and they say you are getting up there in age. I want to retire a Giant."
NOTES: With David Baas (knee) being placed on injured reserve on Wednesday, Jim Cordle is the new center. Ironically, Cordle reached into his locker before practice, grabbed his white jersey and went out to Giants indoor facility. What he didn't notice was that he was wearing No. 64, Baas' jersey, instead of his No. 63. No one seemed to know how the mistake was made but Baas suggested it was quarterback Eli Manning playing one of his pranks. ... Brandon Jacobs (hamstring), LB Spencer Paysinger (ankle) and DT Shaun Rogers (knee) did not practice. Jacobs missed Monday night's game with the injury.
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