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Will New York Giants Reduce David Wilson’s Role as Kick Returner?

June 19th, 2013 at 12:30 PM
By Casey Sherman

Typically, teams won't use one of their marquee offensive weapons as a kick or punt returner mainly as a safety precaution and to conserve energy. Last season, the Giants had the league's top kick returner in David Wilson, who is now expected to have a much greater role in the offense this season. Wilson is the early favorite to land the starting running back position, so will the Giants reduce his kick returning role or will they risk injury to their budding star by keeping him on the field in those situations?

One thing is for sure, it's going to be hard to tell Wilson, who admits his favorite part of playing football is returning kicks, that he will no longer be used at that position. Another person who won't like hearing that is special teams coordinator Tom Quinn who loves having Wilson as his return man.

"He's done it very well, but we'll have to see how it all comes down with where he is on the depth chart and what he's doing on offense. I don't think it's too much to do both, but I'm not making all the decisions," Quinn said. "I think it all depends on the game. There’s other guys that have done both, whether it was as a punt returner and a starter or a kickoff returner and a starter. It’s just how it all plays out."

As a rookie, Wilson led the NFL in return yards with 1,533 — about 300 more than the Tennessee Titans' Darius Reynaud (also a former Giant) who had the second highest total. Wilson also returned a kick for a 97 yard touchdown in Week 14.

The Giants have several other players who could potentially replace Wilson as the kick returner. Jerrel Jernigan, who was Wilson's co-kick returner last season, had several solid run backs. Rueben Randle was the team's main punt returner and could handle kicks if necessary, though the Giants did rank dead last in punt return yards with only 144.

Quinn is aware that punt return is an area the Giants absolutely must improve on this season. He mentioned cornerback Aaron Ross who returned to the Giants after a stint with the Jacksonville Jaguars as someone who could possibly return punts this season.

"We need to create more field position for our offense with our punt return unit and it's something that we've lagged [behind in] the last couple of years," Quinn said. "When Domenik [Hixon] was doing it earlier in '08 and '09 we were more productive, but we've got to get more production out of that punt return unit. That was a big focus for us all the way across the board [this spring] with the scheme and the technique and also the returner."


Tags: Aaron Ross, Darius Reynaud, David Wilson, Football, Jerrel Jernigan, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Rueben Randle, Tom Quinn

13 Responses to “Will New York Giants Reduce David Wilson’s Role as Kick Returner?”

  1.  Krow says:

    My guess is that Wilson will return enough kicks so teams must prepare for him. And also in desperate situations where we need a spark. Otherwise … someone expendable gets the honor.

  2.  Krow says:

    Repost ***

    Goat … I agree to the franchise tag process as you describe it. Yes, that’s how it works. But if you’re not making progress towards a long term deal then you’re just locking in a disgrunteled player for a year. And that year will be a long, angry, bitter one. This is why the Giants are very reluctant to use it.

    If both sides are not reasonably close on an mutually acceptable deal then I can’t see Reese pulling the trigger.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      Players aren’t always disgruntled. They rather have a long term deal but 10 mil plus is not bad. You can franchise a player for two years. Why would JR lose Nicks for nothing when he could keep him? In our recent past no player that was a free agent was good enough to franchise. I don’t count Weatherford.

      You don’t need to be reasonable close on a deal. Franchising was done months ago so that gives plenty of time to negotiate. And really the player has some power because most teams don’t want that one year salary cap hit.

  3.  demo3356 says:

    For you fellow long time Giant fans, Former Punter Dave Jennings passed away. He was the punter when I first started following the NYG

  4.  GIANTT says:

    First , Im very sad to hear of the passing of Dave Jennings – He was a superb punter on a team that didnt have many bright spots .

    As far as Wilson goes as a returner – please not ! can you imagine the repercussions and I told you sos from all those who dont agree with the decision if he got hurt in the season or especially in the preseason ? . Maybe we should have open try outs on the team , maybe Eli can return punts to help justify his large salary too ?

  5.  LUZZ says:

    He is an exceptional returner and he loves doing it. He should be used as much like Krow described above, perhaps slightly more.

    Let’s play to win, not to avoid injury.

    •  BigBlueGiant says:


    •  Chad Eldred says:

      You need a balance. Is he worth losing as a full time RB in order to provide a possible boost to the return game? I’ve never gotten past Jason Sehorn being lost for a season because they thought it might be a good idea to let him return kicks. Sometimes playing to win and playing to avoid injury are one in the same. Letting RGIII dive head first when he runs could be considered “playing to win”, but if he ends his career doing so, it’s more aptly characterized as “dumb as f*ck.”

      •  LUZZ says:

        The risk reward of Wilson returning kicks vs Sehorn is completely different. I don’t think having one of the best return men in the league returning roughly 40% of your kickoffs could be considering “dumb as F@ck” by any measure.

        Just having him back there will likely force some teams to kick away or short of him.

        His timing and bursts on kickoffs are exceptional. He is a real weapon in the return game. This adds a great deal to his value to the team.

        •  Chad Eldred says:

          I suppose this largely is contingent upon how he emerges as the RB. If he is a game changing RB that is consistently getting 15-20 carries a game, having him return kicks is not worth the risk.

  6.  BigBlueGiant says:

    Looks like Jake Ballard might end up being the NE Patriots starting TE!!!!!

  7.  GIANTT says:

    Luzz , I can agree to play to win and not to avoid injury but it is a violent contact sport especially on special teams and I just cant see exposing one of the teams potentially best players when others can do the job .

    •  LUZZ says:

      i guess i would ask the question… Can others do the job? Our return game has been a joke for the last decade. Plug in Wilson and the production increased exceptionally. So who are all the others that can do the job?

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