David Wilson can return kicks; now he must find spot in offense

Giants running back David Wilson avoids a tackle

Giants running back David Wilson avoids a tackle by kicker Alex Henery of the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. (Sept. 30, 2012) (Credit: Getty)

David Wilson was drafted as a running back, but there’s another role he prefers to play. Luckily for the Giants, he’s excelling at it.

“Kick return has always been like my favorite part of the game,” Wilson said Monday, a day after nearly breaking several long returns for touchdowns against the Eagles. “Starting the game off and you get to put the offense in good field position or even return it for a touchdown, that’s just fun; getting to use my speed because I have open space and I’m able to run. It’s a part of the game I enjoy a lot.”

Against the Eagles Wilson had six returns for 217 yards, the third-highest single-game total in franchise history. He is averaging 30.2 yards per return this season, third best in the NFL.

“David Wilson is a weapon and it’s quite obvious now that people are really going to have to contend with that aspect of our game,” Tom Coughlin said.
The one thing Wilson hasn’t been able to do yet is take one to the end zone. That’s coming, he has said, and he was close on Sunday.

While Wilson is flourishing on special teams, though, his role on offense seems to be stuck in neutral. Each game he gets a chance and it seems each time he lets it slip away. There was a fumble in the opener that originally landed him in Coughlin’s bad graces, followed by a dropped pass in Week 2. On Sunday he had one offensive play, a shovel pass from Eli Manning that he dropped.

What might have happened if he had caught it? Coughlin didn’t answer verbally. He just raised his hands to signal touchdown. “It was an excellent call,” Coughlin said. “It was at the right time. It was well set up. There was no indication that that was coming whatsoever . . . 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.”

The offensive snaps will come for Wilson. Until then, his exploits on special teams will only serve to whet imaginations.

“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.”

Right now, he’s doing that one job rather well.

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