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Giants defense takes two big hits with injuries to Jon Beason, Bennett Jackson

New York Giants middle linebacker Jon Beason breaks

New York Giants middle linebacker Jon Beason breaks up a pass to Jacksonville Jaguars' Denard Robinson (16) in the end zone during the first half of a preseason game Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, in East Rutherford, N.J. Photo Credit: AP

The Giants lost one potential defensive starter in Saturday night's preseason game. Jon Beason said his goal is to make sure that game doesn't cost them two when the season opens in less than three weeks.

Beason suffered a sprained left knee in the first quarter against the Jaguars, and though Tom Coughlin said he is "week to week" in his timeline for a return, Beason practically vowed to be ready to play the Cowboys on Sept. 13.

"For sure," he said when asked about returning for that game. "I totally believe that I can and I have my mind made up. I'll do everything I can humanly possible to make sure that that happens. And I don't want to just be ready on Sunday, I want to get back in time for preparation for that [Dallas] game."

Beason might or might not accomplish that. Bennett Jackson's fate is more clearly sealed. The starting safety tore his right ACL in the fourth quarter and will miss the rest of the season. Jackson also missed almost all of last season with a knee injury.

The Giants did get some good injury news. Coughlin said he expects safeties Nat Berhe (calf) and Landon Collins (knee) to practice this week and is hopeful that fellow safety Cooper Taylor (toe) will be able to rejoin the team after missing several practices last week. The Giants also have Brandon Meriweather, who was signed last week.

"That's where we are," Coughlin said. "There haven't been a lot of numbers available [at safety] at any time. For whatever reason, there always seems to have been one or two of these guys who haven't been able to practice. It looks as if we'll have four, but we'll have two days to figure out who can practice and what we can do."

The Giants might add free agents, Coughlin said, to boost the numbers and prepare for next week's preseason game against the Jets. They are expected to have free-agent tryouts for several players Monday.

Coughlin said it was "the numbers situation" that had Jackson, who started the game, on the field in the fourth quarter when he was injured. His knee rolled under a Jaguars tight end while making a tackle near the sideline.

As for Beason, Coughlin sounded more uncertain of a speedy return than the player did.

"These things are all different," Coughlin said when asked for a timeline. "I'm not going to speculate. All of these things wind up being week to week and sometimes in these cases it's longer than you think."

Coughlin reserved judgment on whether he expects him back for the opener until the medical staff gets to work with Beason this week. "Maybe then they'll have a better opinion about that," he said.

Veteran Jameel McClain will step into the middle linebacker role for now just as he did last year when Beason missed all but four games with toe and foot injuries. McClain led the Giants in tackles in 2014, but he also has missed time this training camp with a neck injury.

"We do have the benefit of a guy who has played a lot of football and is very good in the huddle, does all of those things extremely well," Coughlin said. "You hate to think in terms of anything that stretches your depth at this point in time, but it's a reality in our league."

For the Giants, it's been a crushing reality. Virtually every position on the field has dealt with a significant injury to a projected starter since the team began workouts in the spring. From accidents with fireworks (Jason Pierre-Paul) to free weights (Will Beatty), from fractures (Justin Currie, out for the year with a broken ankle and fibula suffered Saturday) to familiar foes (Rueben Randle's years-old knee tendinitis), the Giants have been beaten up.

"Day to day, anything can happen," Beason said. "Hopefully, the injuries for us slow down, because they've been coming fast and furious over the past couple weeks."

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