A lot of people assumed that when the Bucs traded up and jumped ahead of the Giants to select Doug Martin with the 31st pick in last spring’s draft, they stole the running back from Big Blue’s board. The Giants with the next pick took David Wilson. They said he was their guy all along, of course, but yesterday it sounded like offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride might have rather had Martin at his disposal than Wilson. At least at this early stage of their careers.
“I think David has great explosion and great speed,” Gilbride said. “I think Doug Martin looked more -- what’s the word I want to say? -- versatile, ready to do all aspects, pass protection, pass catching as well as running. What they did offensively and what Virginia Tech asked of David are two completely different things. In some respects, he is a little further along in those aspects at playing the position.”
Martin is certainly further along through one game. He had 95 rushing yards on 24 carries plus four passes for another 23 yards in the opener, while Wilson took just two handoffs, fumbled on the second of them, and was benched.
“He did a good job,” Wilson said of the back he’ll likely always be compared to throughout his career. “I’m just waiting on my turn.”
So are the Giants. Gilbride said Wilson will definitely be included in the gameplan this week, nudging out of the doghouse after the fumble the Giants coordinator knew was going to happen.
“It was something that we were worried about,” Gilbride said. “We’ve tried to do everything we can to make him cognizant of how important it is that he focus on that aspect, and as you’re concentrating on everything else, that it’s second nature. You try and do that and as much as you say it, sometimes it takes an experience like that before you get hit over the head. Hopefully he’ll respond the way we expect him to, which is, running as hard as he can, and doing everything he can, that he’ll know first things first, you can’t turn the ball over.”
Not to sound like the nagging mother always comparing grades to a classmate’s, but little Dougie Martin doesn’t have any fumbles in his NFL career yet.
So, would Gilbride have rather taken Martin?
He would not say yes and he would not say no. Instead, he just noted that he had no choice in the matter.
“I’ve got no say,” he said. “You have to talk to the general manager about that one. I have zero say.”