Giants Being Patient with David Wilson’s Development
Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride is aware of the fans’ desire to see the team unleash rookie running back David Wilson, the teams first round draft pick, in more plays with the offense.
Before that happens, the team needs to be certain that Wilson is capable of handling all the responsibilities that come with being on the field.
“He’s got to be able to do all other things besides just running the ball,” Gilbride said. “It’s not just running the ball when you’re a running back in the National Football League. It’s about catching passes, it’s about blocking, and it’s about being able to protect the quarterback. All those things are taken into consideration when you determine whether a guy gets playing time or not.”
Interestingly, Wilson, who thus far has 18 carries for 89 yards, was to have a greater role in the offense this past Sunday according to head coach Tom Coughlin. Those plans, however, were scrapped when the Giants fell behind and had to play catch up.
One thing does appear certain regarding Wilson, and that he’s not quite a finished product as far as being able to contribute on a regular basis at the NFL level.
“Obviously, each week he’s getting better, but there’s a level of trust and a level of professionalism that hopefully he gets to,” said running backs coach Jerald Ingram. “It’s no different than when Brandon (Jacobs) was here as a rookie and didn’t play, or Derrick Ward, or Ahmad Bradshaw. In practice, you have to develop a level of trust among your teammates as well as your coordinator to feel comfortable that you can be a complete running back.
Ingram noted that Wilson’s 5-9, 205 lbs. size puts him at a bit of a disadvantage because there are concerns about his ability right now to take on the larger linebackers that he would have to face if given more of a full time role.
“Can David handle 250-lb. linebackers at his size?” said Ingram. “Strength, knowledge, knowing how to play the game at that level are all things we need for him to be comfortable with. We don’t have any problem with him right now running the ball, but the rest is a process.”
With Wilson then appearing to be a few weeks away from becoming a bigger contributor in the offense, the question was asked of Gilbride as to why, despite the fact that he was chosen just one slot after Tampa’s electrifying rookie runner Doug Martin., Wilson hasn’t been able to produce in the way Martin has.
“I think you have to look at the background of a guy; where the guy came from, what was asked of him at the collegiate ranks,” said Gilbride. “Certain things are asked based upon the college offense that he comes from, but when you look at David, he was basically asked to be a runner, and not do much else.
“In the National Football League, you’re going to have to do a lot of other things because when people line up in certain defensive structures, even if you call the run, you’re going to check out and go to a pass,” he added.
“You have to feel good that he’ll know what to do and be able to solve that problem so that you can continue to function as a unit. That’s all it is. You’re a member of a unit and they’re going to be asked to do a lot of different things beside just carry the ball.”
Ingram pointed out that right now, the fact that Wilson is still a work in progress can actually work against the Giants if they were to force the issue and trot him out onto the field just to run the ball.
“Are you going to substitute what we’re going to win just for the pleasure of a guy to be out there?” Ingram asked. “And if we throw him out there just to run right now, everyone’s going to know what we’re going to do.”
While Wilson will have to wait his turn, Ingram, who pointed out that it’s a challenge to replicate the speed and intensity of a game in practice given that teams are limited by the CBA as far as the number of padded practices they can have, is confident that it’s going to come a lot sooner than later.
“David is a situational back and you have to put him in situations that are going tom make the quarterback comfortable. Once we feel comfortable that he can handle these things, he will get this chance. And make no mistake — he is going to have to help us out at some point this year.”