Carolina Panthers

Beason takes first-team reps

SPARTANBURG -- Linebacker Jon Beason was taking first-team reps on his first day with the Carolina Panthers.

But he'll likely work with the second team tonight in the preseason opener at the N.Y. Giants, to give him a chance to play more.

Beason missed the first eight days of camp during his contract holdout, and the Panthers plugged former strongside backup James Anderson into the starting weakside job in his absence.

Based on what they showed in their final walk-through Friday, Anderson appears set to start against the Giants. Starters usually work the first few series (or no more than the first quarter) in the first game.

That'll give Beason more of a chance to play, and that's the plan, according to coach John Fox.

"Yes, but I'm not saying so much more tomorrow night than I am just getting him up to speed," Fox said. "You've got to be a little bit cautious when a guy is a late arrival, because everybody else is used to carrying their pads and being more conditioned with their pads.

"But mentally just getting the looks in pads, that's why he's working with multiple groups."

• TAKING IT EASY: Don't look for wide receiver Steve Smith, linebacker Dan Morgan or defensive end Mike Rucker to play much, if at all, tonight.

None of the three did much during the walk-through, with Drew Carter and Keary Colbert working as the starting receivers, Adam Seward filling in for Morgan and Stanley McClover starting in place of Mike Rucker. Linebacker Na'il Diggs, who returned to practice Thursday after missing most of camp with a hamstring strain, is also unlikely to play.

Fox mentioned five players who wouldn't travel to New York, staying behind to rehab injuries. Headlining the list was wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett (hamstring). Also staying home were safety Nate Salley, running back Alex Haynes, receiver Justin McCullum and tight end Chad Upshaw.

"They get more out of getting treatment here than going up on a plane and all that stuff," Fox said.

• MR. AUGUST: The Panthers have been juggernauts in the preseason lately, going 15-5 under Fox (.750). Since losing his first three, he's won 15 of 17. He's sported a 44-36 record (.550) in the regular-season, but he led them to undefeated preseasons in 2003, 2004 and 2006.

"I didn't even know that," he said. "That's one not on the top of my important things list.

"We've won a few regular-season games too."

Fox is also pretty good in January and beyond, with a 5-2 playoff record (.714).