When the New York Giants travel to take on the Atlanta Falcons this Sunday, it will be more important for one player more than any other. After his breakout game against the New Orleans Saints, where he became the first player in NFL history to have over 200 kick return yards and 100 rushing yards in the same game, David Wilson has the Giants coaching staff raving.
Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said the staff is “ecstatic” over the way he ran last Sunday.
“I didn’t know he’d be able to run over a linebacker the way he did [on the 52-yard touchdown run], which was tremendous to see,” Gilbride added. “He’s just getting better and better. I think his comfort level is growing and he’s making fewer mistakes and his entry decisions in the run game are giving him a better chance to use the skills he has, which is his toughness and speed.”
Ahmad Bradshaw sprained his knee in the game and Wilson was relied upon in the second half. He played much better than he had all season.
However, we have to step back and look at the facts about Wilson’s game on Sunday. The Saints have the worse rush defense in the NFL, giving up a whopping 152.4 yards per game. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the Giants had it easy in that department.
The Falcons aren’t much better (23rd at 127 rushing yards per game allowed), but Wilson has to step up with Bradshaw questionable to play. He has not practiced all week and the Giants expect to be without their starting running back. Wilson’s time to shine is now.
Before this week, the coaches were vanilla on Wilson, unhappy with how he was progressing as a pass protector and not pleased with his production when he did get opportunities. Prior to Sunday, he had been relegated to kick returner with Andre Brown taking over the backup duties.
Brown broke his leg two weeks ago, opening the door for the rookie to make his mark, and make it he did. Under the spotlight against the NFC’s top team (well, best record anyway), we’ll get a chance to see how the rookie responds.
This game is more important for him, I just hope he knows that.