New York Giants running back David Wilson did not put up gaudy statistics during his rookie season. Wilson received just 71 carries for 358 yards and scored four touchdowns. In fact, in nine of Big Blue's first 10 games, Wilson did not receive more than three touches out of the backfield. He came on later in the season to provide a spark to a slumping offense; but, Wilson sat behind Ahmad Bradshaw and even Andre Brown for the majority of his 2012 campaign. His ball security issues (i.e.: one fumble against the Dallas Cowboys in week one) and overall lack of experience within the offense earned Wilson a spot on the bench for most of the season. However, in 2013, the Giants are going to rely heavily on Wilson's production.
Although statistics usually define an average fan's evaluation of a running back's talent, the Giants coaching staff looks at it from a completely different perspective. Obviously, possessing the physical traits to run effectively both in space and between the tackles is important. However, being able to pass protect for Eli Manning is what ultimately determines who gets to play and who doesn't.
There are very few team's in the NFL capable of winning football games on the ground. Unless a team possesses a truly special talent in their backfield or an absolutely stellar defense, running the football is usually just a medium through which coaches open up the passing attack. That's not to say pounding the rock isn't important. It's an essential aspect of any successful offense. However, the Giants won the Super Bowl in 2011 with the league's last ranked rushing attack.
If David Wilson is going to truly become an integral aspect of Big Blue's offense, he needs to improve his pass protection. As long as he can run, he'll always have a spot on the roster. His speed is a weapon that will prove beneficial in a variety of ways for the remainder of his career. However, Eli Manning dropped back to throw 536 times last season. David Wilson was on the field for just a small handful of those snaps. Against the Atlanta Falcons, Wilson was bulldozed on Eli Manning's first interception.
David Wilson is never going to be a fantastic pass blocker. His 5'9 frame is not going to allow him to keep defensive ends and linebackers running full speed at him for very long. The same goes for a lot of smaller running backs. However, he needs to be able to pass block well enough so that offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride can feel confident in passing the ball with him in the game.
if Wilson continues to portray an inability to protect Manning, the Giants are going to have a problem on their hands. Not only would Wilson's presence in a game tip teams off that the ball is likely staying on the ground, it's going to bring more blitzes as well. That means more people hitting Eli Manning and a greater chance he gets injured. When Wilson is not in the game, the Giants would see nickel and dime packages that would make throwing the football difficult.
As a starter, Wilson needs to be well rounded and perhaps the most important aspect of that is how he pass protects. He hasn't shown an ability to do so yet, but it's essential he improves in the regard for 2013. Or else he could see his role within the offense diminish.
Also…Ahmad Bradshaw, Andre Brown, Atlanta, Atlanta Falcons, Dallas, Dallas Cowboys, David Wilson, Eli Manning, Football, Kevin Gilbride, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Super Bowl
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