Second-year running back David Wilson hasn’t forgotten the events of his very first NFL game.
On his second career carry, Wilson coughed up the ball to the Dallas Cowboys, as the Giants went on to lose 24-17.
That play resulted in a reduced role for Wilson in the Giants’ offense for several weeks, but what a difference a year makes, as Wilson is now the starter at tailback for the Giants’ season opener at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.
With the absence of Andre Brown – who was placed on the new recallable IR this week – Wilson will be asked to shoulder the load alone for Big Blue for the first time.
Wilson says he’s up to the challenge.
“Whenever the ball’s in my hand, I want to make plays and be smart with it and protect the ball,” Wilson said to Giants beat reporters. “And when the ball’s not in my hands I want to do things like run my right routes, catch the ball, protect the quarterback — all the things I need to do.”
Wilson’s playmaking ability will be put to the test by a respectable Cowboys run defense, featuring of the NFL’s premiere run stoppers in Inside Linebacker Sean Lee.
Although Lee has the potential to wreak havoc on Wilson and the rest of the Giants running game – featuring Da’Rel Scott as a change-of-pace back – Wilson’s game-breaking speed could be enough to overcome the challenge, especially if the embattled offensive live can open up holes.
The line will feature rookie first-round draft pick Justin Pugh getting the start at right tackle and be absent of Center David Baas, who is still nursing a knee injury.
Third-year lineman Jim Cordle is listed as the backup center on the depth chart, but he looked overmatched at times in the preseason, so Left Guard Kevin Boothe will slide to center, and James Brewer will get the start at left guard.
The shuffling of the offensive line and its overall inexperience could play a big role in determining the outcome of Sunday’s game.
If they can perform admirably, Wilson should have no problem finding running room, which only opens up the play-action passing game that Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride loves to utilize.
This week I see things going relatively well for Wilson. There will be some growing pains and some mistakes made in his first start, but overall this game will be viewed as a step forward for him.
Predicted Stat Line for Week 1: 22 rushes, 90 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 receptions, 24 yards, 0 touchdowns.
Joe Vasile is a play by play announcer for High School Cube and Widener Pride football and host of ‘Ball Four with Joe Vasile’ on 91.3 WTSR in Trenton. Follow him on twitter at @JoeVasilePBP and visit his website.