Commentary

Wilson gives Giants reason to smile

Rookie running back put on a show in Big Blue's preseason loss to the Bears

Updated: August 25, 2012, 12:48 PM ET
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- After giving the New York Giants an extended preview of his explosive and exciting playmaking ability, rookie running back David Wilson put on a dark paisley sports coat that stood out in the locker room.

Whether it is on or off the field, Wilson has a knack for standing out.

On the night when the Giants lost last year's first-round pick, Prince Amukamara, to a high ankle sprain, this year's first-round draft choice showed that he can be a legitimate weapon to add to Eli Manning's arsenal.

[+] EnlargeDavid Wilson
William Perlman/US PresswireDavid Wilson looks capable of making a big impact in his rookie season with Big Blue.

In his first extended playing time with the starters, with Ahmad Bradshaw resting a bruised hand, Wilson rushed for 49 yards on five carries and added 26 yards on two receptions.

He didn't just showcase his explosive speed. The 5-foot-9, 205-pound Wilson broke multiple tackles and finished a couple of his runs with surprising power as well.

Wilson is not only clearly the best option to back up Bradshaw, but he looks like he will add another dimension to an offense that also features Manning, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz.

Friday night's preseason game -- a 20-17 loss to the Chicago Bears -- proved the Giants must find ways to get Wilson on the field.

"Obviously, a guy who has got world-class speed and still runs powerful," Manning said when asked if Wilson adds an element Manning hasn't had during his years with the Giants. "Can make big plays and get around the corner and get down the sideline. You saw that today."

Wilson put all of his talents on display during the Giants' second offensive series of the game. He accounted for 64 of the Giants' 72 yards on a drive that ended with a field goal.

On a second-and-12 from the Giants' 12-yard line, Wilson took a pitch toward his left and then turned and ran down the right side. He absorbed a hit and kept his footing before finishing with a 20-yard gain. One reporter asked Wilson if the play was designed to take a pitch toward his left before turning and running on the right side.

"Yeah, that was the design," Wilson said with a smile. "Thought I was making up my own play? Nah."

The thing with Wilson is he looks unpredictable at times and is able to make something out of nothing.

On the very next play, he carried the ball down the left side for 15 yards, breaking another tackle before dishing out a stiff-arm to his tackler.

"I heard a lot of people describe me as a speed back and I never thought of myself as a speed back," Wilson said. "In college I was used to breaking tackles and yards after contact, and to be able to do that tonight, it was a good feeling that you don't have to change your game up so much at the NFL level."

The Wilson show continued on the next play, when he took a short pass and turned it into a 29-yard gain before needing two Chicago defenders to finally push him out of bounds. Defensive end Justin Tuck could be seen with a wide smile on his face on the sideline.

"I smiled a lot tonight," Tuck said. "No question, it is a good thing when you get a back and a player like him where every time he touches the ball, it could be a big play."

"It is going to be fun watching him play this year," he added. "I am excited for the things he can potentially do for this team this year."

But what Tuck really wants to see, besides the explosive plays, is how the rookie handles meaningful tasks like blitz pickups and protecting Manning. It is those types of plays that will allow the Giants to put Wilson on the field more and more.

"He may not have seemed overwhelmed, but all the young people have trouble with protection," coach Tom Coughlin said. "Just the knowledge of how to get to the person you're responsible for, and that took place. He's battled that and he still is. He has some playmaking ability, which was shown tonight, and that's something that we certainly can use."

The Giants will defend their championship with their veteran core intact. They lost some key players in Brandon Jacobs and Mario Manningham. But on Friday night, Wilson showed what he can do -- not only behind the starting offensive line, but also what he can do against a first-team defense like the Chicago Bears.

The Giants will surely find ways to get Wilson on the field more frequently.

"In college I was described as a home run threat," Wilson said. "To have the opportunities to make the plays that I made tonight, you want to keep that going and not be a one-time deal. I'm trying to do better than what I did tonight."

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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