For a good part of last year, the Giants waited for David Wilson to break one.
Back then it was as a kickoff returner. It seemed that each week he would have an exciting, dynamic run out of one end zone, but he was never able to reach the opposite one. It wasn't until Week 14 that he finally eluded all of the tacklers and scored.
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The same kind of frustration and anticipation is bubbling again this season, only not for Wilson's special-teams play. He was supposed to be the team's marquee running back, the one who would carry them in his second year on the team, but a pair of fumbles in the opener stunted that development. He became part of a pretty balanced rotation and last week even lost his starting job (albeit for one play).
Now, though, the Giants don't have many other options at running back. They waived Da'Rel Scott this week and rookie Michael Cox does not sound ready to play. Andre Brown is still a month away from coming off injured reserve. That leaves Wilson and Brandon Jacobs, who coach Tom Coughlin indicated would be used in goal line and short-yardage situations, in the backfield.
In other words, it's time for Wilson to step into the spotlight. And, in a perfect world, over the goal line.
"I told him the other day, we need him to get in the end zone," Coughlin said. "That's what I'm looking for."
He's been close. In each game there has been a play or two in which Wilson seemed a step away from busting out a big run. Just like last year with the kickoff returns. "It's there," Wilson said of the big plays. "A lot of things are close, but close don't win games."
He hasn't had more than 13 carries in a game this season. That's not exactly bell cow territory. But even with the anticipation of a larger workload, Wilson isn't changing his philosophy.
"It's still the same motto: Do your job," he said. "When you're in there, that's what you have to do."
Wilson should get a little help at other positions. David Diehl will be starting at right guard in place of the injured Chris Snee (an announcement Diehl made himself). That will add some experience to the blocking in front of Wilson. And fullback John Conner has been with the team for a week. Coughlin said he expects that Conner is ready to take on a larger role.
All of that seems to point toward Wilson having a big game on Sunday. Or at least a big opportunity. If he does produce, it will be the first time this season.
"The main thing is to be consistent, and not be consistently bad, consistently good," Wilson said. "Do the positive things to help move the ball down the field and give our defense a break and score points. That's how you win games."
Despite a disappointing start to the season, Coughlin said he's been impressed by Wilson's demeanor. The first-round pick has not hung his head or sulked over a role that has been less than he likely thought coming into the season, certainly less than he imagined when Brown was injured in the preseason finale.
Wilson said that's because he always tries to see the positive in any situation. And he laughed at Coughlin's directive to get him in the end zone.
"It don't matter who it is, I don't think he really cares who gets in the end zone just as long as we get in the end zone more than the other team does," Wilson said. "I definitely want to be a part of the group that's in there. That's a good feeling. That's what we work for and play for as offensive players, to score touchdowns."
And not almosts.