- Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN Staff Writer
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Kevin Gilbride would like to put the ball in David Wilson's hands quite a bit on Sunday.
"We don’t know," Gilbride said of whether or not he will use a running back rotation like the Giants typically do. "We’ll play it by ear. We’d like to see David go maybe a little bit more than what we’ve done in the past. With the weather and everything else, you just don’t know how it’s going to play out.
"Da’Rel is going to play," Gilbride added. "There’s no question about that and he’s going to have to play well for us. He’s going to be a big part of what we’re doing. What that translates into is number of plays. I’d be less than honest if I told you it was going to be 20 or 30 percent. I think he’s going to be in the game. There’s no question about that, but you’d like to see David go out and have a bang up day."
Nicks ready: Gilbride has seen an improvement in Hakeem Nicks from a year ago when the receiver was battling through a foot injury before later injuring his knee.
"I think he’s a lot better," Gilbride said of Nicks compared to last year. "I think if there’s no setbacks, and I don’t think there are, I think he’s going to continue to get better. He’s finally getting some extended work, which he hasn’t had. I think his leg strength and fitness, his endurance, everything is just going to get better and better. It’s encouraging because last year, if he went out one day, he would swell up."
"When he is at his best, I think it forces people to defend you a little differently," Gilbride later added. "It reminds you of the days when you had Plaxico (Burress) in his heyday. When Hakeem is that way, people are less likely to line up and play you press man and challenge you that way because they know there’s a chance, and a pretty good chance, he’s going to make some big plays for you. When they’re not afraid of that, they can just say you go up line in a bump and run, I’m not worried about it."
O-line shuffle: Gilbride admits he's not sure how the revamped offensive line will affect his game plan during the game. The Giants are starting rookie Justin Pugh at right tackle, James Brewer at left guard and Kevin Boothe at center to go with left tackle Will Beatty and right guard Chris Snee.
"That’s the million dollar question," Gilbride said of how the new line will affect his coaching. "You’d like to say it’s not going to influence at all what you’re doing, but I don’t know how realistic that is. I think you have to take into account the matchups and make some decisions where you have to offer some assistance.
"Where do you have to slide a certain way? Do you have to put the back to a certain side? Do you have to put a tight end somewhere? Maybe, before where you focus more on letting your guards handle the inside guys and maybe you’re looking to help the tackles. Maybe now, that’s not the case. Maybe you have to help inside more. We’ll have to wait and see."