Tuck did a little bit of everything for the Giants. In his nine-year run with the G-Men, Tuck played a major role in two Super Bowl victories and his on-field performance was usually terrific. He suffered through a couple of seasons where his play was significantly slowed by injuries but even then his presence was felt. After all, it was Tuck’s leadership that set him apart and made him such an important player and excellent teammate.
With Tuck gone, the Giants will not only need to find another reliable pass rusher but also, more importantly, they will require another leader out on the gridiron. One of the leading candidates for that position should be linebacker Jon Beason.
New York picked up Beason five games into the 2013 season after poor play from a linebacking corps that had also suffered a number of debilitating injuries. In Beason, the Giants found an immediate leader and impact player in an area where the team was struggling desperately.
Coming to the Giants seemed to be an adrenaline shot for the struggling Beason, who had recently lost his starting spot in Carolina for the second year in a row. Beason had initially burst onto the NFL stage, making the All-Pro team in two out of his first three seasons and making the Pro Bowl in three out of four.
However, injuries kept Beason sidelined during the 2011 season. He then lost his starting spot to Luke Kuechly and Chase Blackburn in consecutive seasons. When he was finally shipped to New York, the rust seemed to magically evaporate.
Although he played in only 12 games for the Giants, Beason finished the season ranked second on the team in tackles. He became an instant run-stopping force, who was in constant pursuit of the football. Beason wasn’t flawless but he was a signing that New York could not have hoped would go better.
Now, in what will hopefully be his first full season with the G-Men, Beason needs to assume an even bigger role in this defensive unit. In the wake of Tuck’s departure, Beason must take on a serious larger leadership role. Giants players raved about Beason’s leadership abilities last season and that needs to continue and even increase in 2014.
It’s true both Antrel Rolle and Jason Pierre-Paul have been two leaders in recent years, but the loss of Tuck cannot just be ignored. Another player must emerge because, without another veteran who leads both vocally and by example, New York’s defense could suffer drastically.