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Friday, December 14, 2012
Running backs ready to step up

By Matt Ehalt

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Three running backs with a combined 41 carries this season are going to have to pick up the slack in the backfield this weekend.

With Ahmad Bradshaw out with a sprained knee and foot issues, the Giants will turn to rookie David Wilson and a pair of veterans who have been on the team less than a month in Kregg Lumpkin and Ryan Torain. Lumpkin and Torain each don't even have a carry this season.

Wilson is in line to be the starter when the Giants take on the Falcons. He rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries in last week's win over the Saints, showcasing the top-end speed that made the Giants draft him in the first round. He's rushed 41 times for 211 yards and three touchdowns on the year.

"I think I had a great week of practice," Wilson said after practice on Friday. "I know my assignments and I know what to expect and just having a great week of practice and showing the coaches and building their confidence so they’re not worried and rolling in their sleep hoping that I can pull it together on Sunday."

While Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said he sees no reason why Wilson can't handle 20 carries this week, he added that it's to be seen whether that will be the case. He said the other backs can help the team in different ways, and even said fullback Henry Hynoski "might" be the team's best pass protector among the running backs with Bradshaw out. Coughlin has been impressed with what he's seen out of Torain and Lumpkin in pass protection.

"They've worked very hard at it since they’ve been here," Coughlin said. "They have been in the classroom since they got here to catch up and they’ve done a pretty good job at it. They’ve been on teams, so they know what to expect. Hopefully, if we can categorize how we use them, and their knowledge in that area is sufficient, they’ll do fine."

Lumpkin, who has played a total of eight snaps on offense in the last two games, is expecting his role to increase this week with Bradshaw is out. He's been used on third downs, in addition to special teams, and believe he has his pass protection down. He said he's feeling comfortable within the offense.

"Just gotta play confident and comfortable, have fun" Lumpkin said. "Make sure Eli (Manning) is protected and catch the ball, run, score touchdowns."

Torain has yet to play this season but said he feels great about the offense and praised the coaches and teammates for helping him out and working with him. He started at running back for the Redskins last year and has shown he can get the job done in extensive work.

"I definitely feel like I'll have an opportunity this week and just wait until the coach calls my number," Torain said. "I'll be waiting patiently. I'm very excited and ready to help the team."