When the New York Giants lost linebacker Jon Beason to a torn ligament and a sesamoid fracture of his right foot — an injury that will likely keep him out until the start of the regular season — it immediately appeared as if their depth at middle linebacker had been shot. But in addition to veteran Jameel McClain, fifth-round rookie Devon Kennard immediately stepped up and showed his teammates and coaches he was up to the task.
At the conclusion of the offseason workout program, Kennard had advanced so quickly that linebackers coach Jim Herrmann couldn't help but to smile at the mere mention of his name.
"Devon is a fun kid. He's a very intelligent young man. He has multiple talents — both as an outside guy and as an inside guy," Herrmann told Giants.com. "He was able to get in and take some MIKE reps and did a great job. He wasn't phased by it; the game was there for him and he was able to take leadership from Jon [Beason] and Jameel [McClain], and kind of see how things went. He picked right up on it."
Herrmann's sentiments were incredibly similar to those of head coach Tom Coughlin, who had also previously praised Kennard as a "smart" kid who made impressive strides far quicker than anyone expected.
"He’s picked things up very well. He’s very smart, very good on the board. He’s done a nice job on the field, a good job on special teams," Coughlin said. "We’re excited about him. A nice big kid, strong kid."
Although the team expects to have Beason back no later than Week 2 of the regular season, the additional reps for Kennard and his quick advancement are nothing short of positive. If he can continue to grow and learn throughout the preseason and carry that over into live-game action, Big Blue will have that many more options come the regular season.
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