A running back can have all the tools to succeed in the NFL, but if he can't hold on to the ball, it doesn't matter.
New York Giants rookie running back David Wilson found that out the hard way against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1 when he fumbled away his second carry of the game and was promptly benched by head coach Tom Coughlin.
Some fantasy football experts saw Wilson as a viable flex option this season. They were right, based on his explosiveness, athleticism, power and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.
But Wilson's fumble on Wednesday wasn't just a fluke. He had a long-running problem taking care of the ball at Virginia Tech.
Coughlin is obviously aware of this. He was also aware that the Giants couldn't afford to cough up the ball against the Cowboys on Wednesday (which they ultimately couldn't). That's why he wasn't apologetic for benching Wilson after the game.
Coughlin said, via the Star-Ledger:
"Everybody says 'Well, you didn't play him after that.' Well, we're playing the opening game of the year. It's a divisional game. We had just driven the ball. We're going to be a bit reluctant. This is not preseason. Let's go for Stage 2 here. This is serious business, now."
Coughlin even knew his exact record when he wins the turnover battle: 46-9. That's how much he cares about turnovers (or doesn't care for them).
Right now, Wilson is in the doghouse. Chances are, it may be a while before he's back in Coughlin's good graces. He'll certainly have to show a track record of not fumbling the pigskin.
In that case, fantasy owners can't wait for him to come around. If there's someone else on the waiver wire out there, you have to go for him. It's one thing for a rookie to have a mediocre game as he adjusts to the pros. It's quite another when you fumble the ball on your second carry and lose the head coach's trust in the process.
For all the promise that accompanied Wilson before the regular season, he has fumbled that away in the eyes of Coughlin...at least for the time being.
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