Wilson opening Coughlin's eyes

October, 2, 2012
10/02/12
2:28
PM ET
David Wilson has played a total of only 14 offensive snaps in four games.

But Wilson is showing his worth and ability with the touches he is getting on special teams. Wilson has proven to be an explosive threat as a kickoff returner, and he has definitely impressed coach Tom Coughlin.

“We probably had as good a field position based on our kickoff return game that we’ve had in a long, long time,” Coughlin said of Wilson’s 36.2 yard average on returns against Philadelphia on Sunday night. “David Wilson as a weapon is quite obvious now [and] people are really going to have to contend with that aspect of our game.”

Wilson had kickoff returns of 36, 48, 45, 53, 23 and 37 yards -- although the 48-yard return was brought back for holding. Just about every time Wilson returned one, the Virginia Tech product looked like he was one step away from breaking it for a touchdown. He is averaging 30.2 yards per return and he is opening the eyes of his coaches.

“He works hard every day,” Coughlin said. “The kid ... he works hard. 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 [on Sunday].

“I mean, yeah ... Is there a place for a guy that can take it at 5 yards and run it the rest of the way? Yes.”

The Giants drafted Wilson at the end of the first round to provide a spark in the running game. That, though, has been a work in progress.

He had an impressive preseason. But since fumbling his second professional carry against Dallas, Wilson has seen limited touches. And when he does get a rare offensive snap, it almost feels like an adventure.

Against Philadelphia, the Giants had a play set up for Wilson. Out of the shotgun on a second-and-5 at the Eagles’ 49 in the first quarter, QB Eli Manning tossed a shovel pass for Wilson, who was moving up the middle toward the right with a big hole. The shovel pass was a bit high and behind Wilson, who couldn’t reel the ball in.

“We thought it was coming out of there,” Coughlin said as he signaled touchdown with his arms pointing up. “It was an excellent call at the right time. There was no indication that that was coming whatsoever.

“They [the Eagles] had been subject to the crack-block in previous games relatively effectively,” Coughlin explained. “They were looking for crack. Because they were looking for crack, it gave us a chance. I don’t know if it’s an exactly perfect flip, but it should be caught; it’s there. Catch it, put it away, and use your God-given ability.”

Wilson wants to prove his worth. But with Ahmad Bradshaw and Andre Brown ahead of him, he’ll have to be patient and settle for showing his worth in other ways.

Wilson did earn praise from Coughlin for preparing the defense in practice last week by playing the role of LeSean McCoy and being shifty and elusive. Coughlin said practicing against Wilson helped; the Giants held McCoy to 2 yards rushing in the first half. McCoy ended up breaking loose for 121 yards in the second half.

Wilson hopes to one day get a shot to do what McCoy does on offense. But in the meantime, he will continue to look to score on kickoffs. And he feels that is only a matter of time.

“Catching kickoffs and running the ball, if you can make something happen there, they feel like they can put you somewhere in the offense and have an impact,” Wilson said. “I’m just working hard and taking it one day at a time and focusing on the job that they put in front of me.”
Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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