David Wilson Gets a Crash Course in Pass Blocking
With running back André Brown placed on Injured Reserve with the designation to return, the coaches will turn to rookie first rounder David Wilson to step up and fill some of the void left by Brown’s departure.
For his part, Wilson said he looks at teammate Ahmad Bradshaw, who got his opportunity as a rookie when former running back Derrick Ward suffered a broken foot and he had to step up, and he believes that he can duplicate the success that Bradshaw had.
“You just be prepared so when your chance comes, you’re ready,” he said. “Andre played a big role in our offense so in his absence, someone’s going to have to definitely step up and coaches told me I’m the next guy, so I’ve been preparing and hopefully I’ll be ready when they call my number.”
Wilson has also been taking private lessons from fullback Henry Hynoski on the pass blocking assignments, a practice that Hynoski said started about two weeks ago.
“Rookie year is all about learning about the NFL,” said Hynoski. “You really start getting comfortable late in your rookie year, starting your second year so now is the time where David really has to step up and turn it on. It’s getting to that point in the season where we expect a lot more out of him.”
To make sure they get more out of Wilson, Hynoski has had his young teammate write down his pass protection assignments, including adjustments, on a piece of paper which Wilson then hands in to Hynoski for a grade.
“He’s done a pretty good job with it so far,” Hynoski said. “I’m going to be extra hard on him this weekend and I know (running backs) coach (Jerald) Ingram will be too.”
That’s why Hynoski said he plans to ramp up the tutoring sessions in the coming week.
“Right now he’s going to be staying after practice with me for about an hour, hour and a half and we’re going to get him ready,” he said. “I’ve been working with him mainly on pass protection stuff. I tell him that after practice I want him to have all his protections written down – who you are assigned to and what the adjustments could be, and he did that.”
It’s all part of the master plan to make sure that Wilson is as prepared as possible for an increased role.
“That’s what I’ve been doing, completing the quizzes with Henry, shadowing André and Ahmad at practice, and making sure I’m watching them and paying attention,” said Wilson. “When they’re in the game, seeing how they react to situations. All the things you can do to prepare so when it’s your turn you can step up without missing a step.”
Hynoski said that for the most part, Wilson has done a good job. “Overall he has a pretty decent grasp, but there are a few things we need to tweak here and there.”
He’s also praised the rookie for having the right attitude.
“It’s been great,” Hynoski said. “David wants to be on the field but the main thing as a running back is you have to be able to protect the quarterback, that’s the thing that often goes overlooked and I think that’s something he’s starting to realize and he’s going to be taken a lot of pride in.”
And when Wilson does take the field in an expanded role, what might he bring to the offense?
“Just so much natural talent and ability,” Hynoski said. “Tremendous speed, elusiveness and quickness. He’s a special back. Once his maturity meets his talent, we can expect a lot of great things from him.”
“I’m just going to go out there and play football as hard as I can and give production for me team,” Wilson added.