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Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Big Blue Morning: Man in the middle

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

What we learned on Day 1 of New York Giants minicamp is that free-agent signee Jameel McClain is the first in line to replace the injured Jon Beason at middle linebacker. As Kieran Darcy writes, McClain is comfortable in the leader's role and likely well suited for the motivational and organizational responsibilities that come along with Beason's job. What we don't know -- and won't know, until the pads go on and there are opposing teams out there in different-colored jerseys trying to score against the Giants -- is whether McClain can play like Beason.

The Giants didn't sign McClain to be a three-down thumper who's willing to take on offensive tackles in the open field at the second level. That's what Beason was for them last year. It's a big reason he was able to earn his teammates' respect so instantly. And it's why the Giants made it a priority to re-sign him at the beginning of the offseason. McClain might be able to replace Beason as a player, and the Giants might only need him to do it for one or two regular-season weeks. But that's the lingering question for me off of Tuesday. I have little doubt that McClain will be good in the huddle. How good will he be once it breaks?

In other matters:

The Giants are being cautious with veteran guard Chris Snee, who's rehabbing from elbow surgery as well as hip surgery.

Eli Manning likes the progress the new offense is making.

And according to Conor Orr at NJ.com, Mathias Kiwanuka is not happy he was asked to take a pay cut this offseason, though Kiwanuka does acknowledge that the collectively bargained rules governing NFL contract make this the way of his world.

Back out there today for more from Giants minicamp. We'll keep you posted.