The Giants' coaches focused on patience with David Wilson for most of the first three months of his NFL career. Now, after his breakout 100-yard outing against the Saints and most likely a promotion to starting running back because of Ahmad Bradshaw's sprained knee, their patience has turned to joy.
"He did a terrific job for us," offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said of Wilson's game on Sunday. "We're ecstatic."
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Gilbride said he was impressed by Wilson's 52-yard touchdown run, but his physical play made him happiest. "I didn't know he'd be able to run over a linebacker the way he did, which was tremendous to see," Gilbride said. "He's just getting better and better. I think his comfort level is growing and he's making fewer mistakes and his entry decisions in the run game are giving him a better chance to use the skills he has, which is his toughness and speed."
The Giants have not changed Bradshaw's status for Sunday, but he missed a second straight practice Thursday and seems unlikely to play against Atlanta. Gilbride said the Giants would lose an emotional leader and a lot of toughness without him on the field. Bradshaw, however, holds out hope of playing. "You listen to him, he's not sure it's lost," Gilbride said. "But we'll see."
After sitting out Wednesday to rest his knee, a strategy the Giants seem resigned to using, Hakeem Nicks practiced. He was listed as limited but ran routes and caught passes. "Not bad, not bad," Tom Coughlin said. "He's working his way back."
DE Jason Pierre-Paul (back) was back at practice but LB Michael Boley (back) missed a second straight workout . . . Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said he's not expecting to have S Kenny Phillips this week. Phillips played against the Packers but aggravated his knee injury. He played sparingly against the Redskins and was out against the Saints. "He was back and then obviously had a setback, and now he's working his way back again," Coughlin said. "The nature of the injury is such." . . . DE Osi Umenyiora said the Falcons have lost the "dirtbag" quality that was attributed to them last year. "They're not playing the way that they played," he said. "They're just trying to straight-up block you. None of that dirty after-the-play stuff they were doing last year." Umenyiora said new Falcons offensive line coach Pat Hill seems "more interested in winning and blocking people than trying to hurt people."