When New York Giants running back David Wilson forced his way through a hole in the Chicago Bears defense and ran for 20 yards, it was clear that his team’s running game would be improved for the opener against the Dallas Cowboys.
Wilson made these sorts of runs every week at Virginia Tech and will look to continue this into the regular season. Against the Cowboys, we can expect to see him used to slow down the Dallas defense and open them up for exploitation via the pass.
Wilson will not be the every-down back against the Cowboys—that role will fall to Ahmad Bradshaw. Wilson will get carries due to Bradshaw’s durability concerns, but they will be on plays where his blocking assignments are simple to negligible.
Wilson needs improvement in this area, and the Giants will not risk exposing these deficiencies. Instead, he will be required to attack the seam with the ball, battling through the line of scrimmage for hard-won yards.
Dallas has no choice but to respect what Eli Manning did to their secondary last year—despite their upgrades in that area—which could leave them exposed along the ground. As seen during preseason, Wilson has big-play capability from the backfield, and there will be plays designed to make the most of this.
With the frailties in the Giants offensive line, the upgrade in the running game will keep the defenses honest and reduce the amount of pressure on Manning. This should give him the time he needs to run through his progressions and make his reads.
The Giants have developed Wilson’s running so that he stays north and south after he takes off, so it will be interesting to watch him in the regular season. He showed improvement through training to preseason and gained extra yards from breaking tackles against the Bears.
Wilson can also function as a kick returner, having made an impression in this area for Virginia Tech, then again during the preseason. Over the first two preseason games, Wilson had two kickoff returns for 76 yards.
His pace immediately makes him a difficult proposition as a return man, as well as quick cuts and the ability to always fall forward. Don’t be surprised if the majority of his time on the field tonight is in this capacity.
The Giants needed to improve their running game from last year. When they took Wilson in the draft at the end of the first round, there was some concern that it was too early to draft a running back.
It’s now time for Wilson to prove those people wrong.