New York Giants running back David Wilson (22) carries against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
By ART STAPLETON
The Record (Hackensack, N.J.)
David Wilson is doing his best to stay patient, even if his desire to contribute to the Giants as a running back during his rookie season continues to burn.
Don't mistake his absence in the offensive backfield as Wilson being invisible, however.
In Sunday's 19-17 loss to the Eagles, Wilson returned six kickoffs for 217 yards, the third-highest single-game total in franchise history. He has an NFL-high 13 kickoff returns for 393 yards and his 30.2-yard average places him third in the league.
"David Wilson as a weapon is quite obvious now," Tom Coughlin said.
The Giants' 2012 first-round pick has waited his turn to star throughout his career.
At Virginia Tech, he was behind Ryan Williams and Darren Evans on the depth chart and needed those two teammates to depart before getting his chance.
Even in high school, Wilson said he had to bide his time before establishing himself with the varsity and receiving the opportunity to carry the football.
"I left with the records (at) both of those places," Wilson said with a smile. "So it's paid off."
Wilson entered the season as the team's No. 2 running back with an expected significant role in the game plan against the Cowboys in the opener. Then came the much-publicized fumble on his second carry and Coughlin benched him on offense for the rest of the game.
Nearly a month later, Wilson has begun to carve out his own niche and earning Coughlin's trust back one touch at a time.
"The kid - he works hard," Coughlin said. "He's trying to get it all figured out. He wants you to know how much it means to him and how important it is to him. He's gone out and proven a few things. . I think you'll find an axiom in this business: when they think the guy back there maybe has a chance to score, they block better."
With Bradshaw as the lead back and Andre Brown having emerged as a productive complement, the Giants are working toward answering the question as to where Wilson fits offensively. He had an opportunity in the passing game against the Eagles, but could not hold onto a shovel pass Coughlin believes would have gone for a touchdown.
Just because the numbers are not there yet, Wilson needs to look no further than Bradshaw's rookie experience as proof of how quickly things can change.
Bradshaw had just six carries in five games over the first 15 weeks of the season until his breakout performance against Buffalo in Week 16. He rushed for 151 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries during a victory over the Bills that clinched a playoff spot.
He carried 48 times that postseason, including finishing as the Giants' leading rusher (9 carries, 45 yards) in the 17-14 triumph over New England in Super Bowl XLII.
"Kick return has always been like my favorite part of the game, starting the game off and you get to put the offense in good field position or even return it for a touchdown," Wilson said. "That's just fun: getting to show my speed because of course I have open space and I'm able to run."