Despite not being listed on the Giants injury report after being traded to New York from the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 3, linebacker Jon Beason wasn’t quite himself.
No, he didn’t have any offseason surgeries after last season. And yes, he definitely brought stability to a linebacker unit—and defense, for that matter—that, prior to his arrival, struggled.
For as good as Beason looked last season after he started donning that Giants helmet, he still wasn’t anywhere close to being the three-time Pro Bowl inside force he was in 2007-2010, especially when it came to coverage.
There’s a very good reason for that.
The last time that Beason spent a full offseason completely devoted to training for an upcoming football season was in was in 2010, his last Pro Bowl berth.
Since then, he’s had two significant soft tissue injuries, including a torn Achilles suffered in the 2011 season opener while as a member of the Panthers and a knee issue for which he had surgery in 2012.
As a result, in the ensuing offseasons, he’s had to mix in a healthy dose of rehab activities to his training regimen as he worked to regain the strength, flexibility, speed and quickness, a process that doesn't happen overnight.
“A lot of times guys have injuries in the offseason and have surgery and people expect they’re just going to go out and be who they are as opposed to having the chance to actually go through the training where you’re stronger and faster and in great condition to where you can make the plays at a high level more consistently," Beason said.
The good news is that this offseason the man nicknamed “The Beast” was finally able to put all of his focus on training.
And if you thought he was pretty good last year in the Giants defensive scheme, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Beason no longer has to worry about rehabbing, and because he was able to train the way he felt he needed to, he believes he’s going to be able to raise his level of play even higher than it was last season.
"It’s fun to actually just train, he said. "You want to be the best so you put the time in, you double up and try to play at a high level."
At the same time, Beason said he knows it's important to be smart and not overdo things, despite his burning desire to do whatever it takes to play at the highest possible level.
"That’s part of becoming a vet; you have to be smart and realize it’s all about when to recover and when to push it," he said.
That's exactly the approach he's taken so far, and he's hoping to reap the rewards this season.
“I feel good. I’m in good shape and I’ll be able to play at a much higher level than last year when I was just scratching the surface.”
Patricia Traina is the senior editor for Inside Football. All quotes and information obtained firsthand, unless otherwise noted. Follow me on Twitter, @Patricia_Traina.