The Giants offense has quickly hit its stride after a disastrous start to the season and a major impetus for the quick turnaround has been the stellar play of the offensive line. Coming off a season in which Eli Manning was more times than not fearing for his life in the pocket, New York’s offensive front has helped Rashad Jennings climb to the No. 3 rushing rank in the NFL and transformed a left-for-dead offense into a potentially formidable unit.
One player that endured sharp scrutiny for his play last year was guard Will Beatty, but he’s quickly reversed his fortunes and evolved into an anchor along Big Blue’s dominant front.
Beatty will face a former teammate is Osi Umenyiora, who tallied 75 sacks and 32 fumbles in nine seasons with the Giants. Entering his second year with the Falcons, Umenyiora has been converted to outside linebacker and while he’s yet to record a sack so far this season, Beatty knows full well the kind of havoc the two-time Super Bowl champ is capable of creating.
“I was on his scout side trying to make him better. Now I get to go against him and that feeling that this is what you look for,” noted Beatty of his possible match-up with Umenyiora. “You look forward to the big games and the good match-ups. This is almost a division game for me going against him because of how well I know him. Let’s see how much he changed. I get to show him how much I changed and how much I grew.”
Mike Smith’s Falcons have essentially relegated Umenyiora to a third-down pass-rusher, so if the Giants hope to avoid Manning taking some heat, they’ll have plenty of opportunities to get running back Rashad Jennings going against Atlanta’s front seven that ranks No. 28 against the run this year. Two years removed from his playing days with the Giants, Umenyiora noted Beatty’s progress and even told reporters this week that New York’s offensive lineman is “playing his best football.” While the compliments are being traded off between the two former teammates, there’s no question that when things are on the line Sunday, it will be a fierce battle between old practice rivals.
Knowing what Osi did and knowing what JPP did, I am ready for him and now I get to show Osi now I am no longer the student,” noted Beatty. “It is going to be just that. That chemistry that I know I have with him going out there and he is going to give his all and I am going to give my all. It is going to be a fun game, not knowing how many plays I am going to see him. When I do see him it will be like, ‘Oh yeah, it is me and you.’”