Will Beatty eager to make return

Updated: August 14, 2014, 3:19 PM ET
By Kieran Darcy | ESPNNewYork.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Will Beatty says he's thankful to be playing for the New York Giants on Saturday in Indianapolis.

The Giants' starting left tackle will be making his preseason debut, eight months after suffering a broken right leg in the team's 2013 regular-season finale.

[+] EnlargeWill Beatty
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsThe Giants will want to see the Will Beatty of 2012 back protecting quarterback Eli Manning's blind side.

"Do I feel ready? I've been looking forward to this moment," Beatty said Thursday. "I'm blessed to be in this position."

Beatty has been practicing fully during training camp, but he was held out of the Giants' first two preseason games for precautionary reasons.

Coach Tom Coughlin said Wednesday he expects Beatty to play but that he probably won't give him as many snaps as the rest of the starters because it's his first game.

Beatty is looking forward to facing Colts linebacker Robert Mathis, who led the NFL with 19.5 sacks last season.

"I'm expecting a lot from myself," Beatty said. "I'm going up against Mathis, 11 years in the league -- knowing it's a preseason game, but his intensity to the game, how he plays, I know that he's gonna look at it as a regular-season game, each snap he's gonna give his best.

"This is my marker of how well I have trained during the offseason to recover and get back to top shape."

The Giants desperately need a healthy Beatty protecting quarterback Eli Manning's blind side. Beatty's replacement in the first two preseason games, Charles Brown, has not looked good.

But the Giants also need a better Beatty than the one they saw in 2013. After giving up just three sacks in 2012, Beatty allowed 13 last season, according to Pro Football Focus, the most of any offensive lineman in the league.

The Giants gave Beatty a five-year, $37.5 million contract following the 2012 season, with $19 million guaranteed.

"Yes, I have something to prove, but we all have something to prove," Beatty said. "I don't think the weight on my shoulders is bigger than anyone else's. It's just a little different."

As for his right leg, Beatty said "it's still not the right leg before the injury," but the doctors have told him he need not worry about reinjuring it, and he won't be thinking about it come Saturday night.

"I'm still able to play, and when I get out there I can move as I did before," Beatty said. "Now, I might not be like 100 percent as in strength to the left leg, but that's because I was off it for so long. You just have to build it up.

"It is in great football shape," Beatty added. "I'm not having any concern with it -- thinking when I'm going out there, 'OK, I'm not gonna be able to do something.' Because I can do it all."

Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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