ORLANDO, Fla. – Tom Coughlin is expecting David Wilson to be on the field for the Giants in 2014. He’s just not sure how much the third-year running back will be able to handle coming off neck surgery.
"I’m planning that he’s there,” Coughlin said at the NFC coaches’ breakfast at the NFL owners' meetings on Wednesday morning. “Until they tell me differently, he’s there. Now, to what extent is he there? Does his presence mean that you have to have another number going into camp at that spot? All of those things are possible.”
The Giants did add running back Rasheed Jennings in free agency and re-signed Peyton Hillis. They also have Michael Cox, who will be coming into his second season.
Coughlin sounded excited about Jennings.
"The more you look, the better you like,” he said of the player. “I think he’s a good football player who will be a very solid, solid, impactful guy in our offense.”
He may have to be more than that if Wilson is unable to rebound from his surgery.
"He’s making outstanding progress,” Coughlin said. “Whenever I see him I tell David, ‘Slow down now, stay with whatever they are telling you that you can or can’t do.’ He’s been working on his legs for a month or more.”
The surgery was not to relieve pain or lack of motion, though, but to protect him from future injury. Wilson felt fine before the surgery, so to say he feels well now is almost irrelevant. The true test will only come when he gets back on a football field. That process will take some time.
"Let’s get him back, let’s see,” Coughlin said. “I wouldn’t rush him into anything.”
Coughlin did mention that Wilson is a “superb” kickoff returner, which could be a hint at his diminished projected role as a running back. But even that won’t be a sure thing, certainly not with the additions of returners Quintin Demps and Trindon Holliday. And it’s yet another part of Wilson’s game that the Giants seem unwilling to throw him back into.
“I don’t know if he can do that right away,” Coughlin said. “I would be very slow about that.”