Will Beatty did not have as good a season as he or the New York Giants hoped he would have at left tackle in 2013. And he doesn't know whether the leg injury he suffered in the season finale will keep him from starting 2014 on time. But after little seemed to go right in the first year of Beatty's big five-year contract, he's found a reason to hope Year 2 goes better.
"The good thing about this year is we have a new offensive coordinator," Beatty said last week during a break from Giants' strength and conditioning workouts. "We have a lot of new players that, looking back on last year, it’s not easy to say what the team this year is going to be like. You have so much going on that it’s, ‘What are we doing? What’s going on today? How are you learning the new stuff that’s being thrown at you?’ That’s going to determine how our year turns out. We don’t have time to worry about the past. The past is behind us. We have to stay focused now to make sure that we have a better future."
Beatty kept using the word "we," as though determined to indicate he was speaking about the disappointing year the team had as a whole, as opposed to his own poor performance. And fair enough. The Giants, especially on offense, were putrid in 2013. The addition of new coordinator Ben McAdoo is expected to help rejuvenate things, and from Beatty's standpoint it could also help refresh them.
"Coming off an injury it’s like, ‘The year did not end well for me but I have a chance to start a new year fresh with a new coordinator, and everyone has to learn these plays'," Beatty said. "It’s not like, ‘You’ve been here five years, you know these plays, you have it down.’ We’re all on the same page, so that’s my concern. And try not to let the rehab or fact that I got injured affect me from moving forward. I’m trying to keep pace with everyone else."
Beatty needs to get on the field and prove 2012 was a better indicator of his capabilities than 2013 was. The Giants can get out of his contract next spring if they so choose, and if they pick a tackle in the first round of next week's draft, that could be a sign Beatty's time in New York won't be long. Protecting quarterback Eli Manning is a major priority for the 2014 Giants after last year's mess, and as the left tackle, that is Beatty's primary responsibility. Whenever his leg lets him get it going, this is very obviously an important year for Beatty if he wants to remain in the Giants' long-term plans.