EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin said David Wilson needs to demonstrate proper ball-carrying technique in practice this week if he wants to retain his starting job, calling the running back "a marked man."
Wilson fumbled twice in Sunday's season-opening loss at Dallas and was benched in the third quarter in favor of Da'Rel Scott. The Giants signed veteran running back Brandon Jacobs on Tuesday, but Coughlin made it clear that his preference is for Wilson to correct his fumbling issues so that he can play against the Denver Broncos in Week 2.
"As I've said many times, we need [Wilson]," Coughlin said Wednesday morning. "He's necessary. He's going to have to overcome this issue.
"And he's a marked man now, so he's really going to have to overcome it."
Wilson, the Giants' first-round draft selection in 2012, has been the subject of widespread criticism since struggling in the loss to Dallas. The speedy running back took to Twitter on Tuesday night to answer his critics.
Ayy to fantasy participants and pissed Giants fans ur irrelevant to me!!! Nobody wants me to succeed more than ME!!! WATCH US WORK!
— David E. Wilson (@4stillRunning) September 10, 2013
Wilson, 22, posted a follow-up tweet several hours later, again addressing Giants fans.
S/O to all our supporters and big blue nation lets go get these wins the fans deserve every win we get #wegonegetit
— David E. Wilson (@4stillRunning) September 11, 2013
Wilson also has turned his attention to this week's game against Denver.
"For me, I am just moving forward," he said. "You can think about it too much and it will hurt your play. Right now I am focusing on going out there and making plays and helping my team."
Coughlin said coaches have stressed to Wilson that he needs to demonstrate he is making ball security a priority in practice.
"He's following the technique that he's been taught, and we'll see under pressure if he can continue to do that," Coughlin said. "The problems occur when you try to make a move and the ball leaves your side and the pocket that you've established for it. You have trouble when there's no place to go and other people are surrounding you, you have no choice but to cover it up with both hands.
"That's not a difficult thing for David because of his body style and the height of his running position. He can do a good job of covering the ball up. He was careless, and it cost us dearly, but I'm confident he's going to learn from it."
The Giants don't have many good options if Wilson doesn't play well. Coughlin's comments on the Jacobs signing indicated that the team doesn't plan a major ball-carrying role for the veteran.
Coughlin explained the Jacobs signing by saying, "the veteran running back with size is someone that can help us," feeding the perception that Jacobs was brought in for pass-blocking.
Wilson is looking at Jacobs' addition as a positive for the Giants.
"That is another guy in this locker room that can help this team win some games," Wilson said. "I am glad to have him back and he looked good out there.
"All the years he has been in the league, he has learned something new and going out there, he has learned something new each year and he has experience, and we can use a guy like that to teach the younger guys and also help us go out on the field. He knows how to handle certain situations. In the heat of the battle he is a guy with experience."
Jacobs said Wednesday he felt "blessed" to be back with the Giants.
"I feel like I'm on top of the world," he said. "I've waited for this for a year and something now. I'm happy, man.
"When I came back into the building yesterday for the little workout, man, I just knew then, 'I'm not going to fail. I'm not going to fail. I'm going to succeed and I'm going to get this done because I'm not trying to go home.'"
Scott is inexperienced, and the only other tailback on the roster is rookie Michael Cox.
So the coaches will watch Wilson in practice this week and hope he convinces them that he has corrected his fumbling problem.
"Yeah, in practice, he's going to have to have the ball in that position all the time, not just when he thinks he's running free and there's nobody around him," Coughlin said. "I want to see the ball in the right spot all the time.
"And frankly, there's nowhere else to go with this. I don't know what else to say about David Wilson. I realize it's a major issue for everybody, but there's a way to carry the ball and there's a way to protect the ball. Ball security is No. 1, and that's what he's going to have to demonstrate."
ESPNNewYork.com's Ohm Youngmisuk contributed to this report.