Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports
RB David Wilson will be the Giants' feature back in 2013.
When the Giants released veteran running back Ahmad Bradshaw, scorer of the go-ahead touchdown in Super Bowl XLVI, New York's most seismic backfield shift since Tiki Barber's retirement appeared imminent.
In his second season, Virginia Tech product David Wilson is expected to take on a much larger role. The electric runner won't have as short a leash in 2013, as ESPN's Ed Werder reports that Wilson will "absolutely" be the Giants' feature back (via Rotoworld.com).
The Giants rarely unleashed Wilson during his rookie season. His contributions steadily increased, however, after his breakout game against the New Orleans Saints in Week 14, in which he set an NFL record for all-purpose yards. The elusive back carried the ball 15 times, a season high, for 75 yards against the Eagles in the 2012 season finale.
Wilson will have to prove that he's ready to take on more. The wear and tear of the game will weigh on him more as his attempts pile up. And although Wilson only fumbled once last season, an increased workload will give him more opportunities to put the ball on the carpet. Coughlin will be quick to field a substitute if his primary ball-carrier develops a fumbling issue.
Behind Wilson, Andre Brown will attempt to make a healthy return from a broken fibula that ended his breakout 2012 season after Week 12. Brown will be the Giants' goal-line back in 2013, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN New York. The 227-pound hammer excelled on the goal line last season, collecting eight touchdowns, all from short distance.
Brown's biggest downfall, however, has been his durability. He will sustain many punishing blows as the team's short-yardage back, so the Giants must make a concerted effort to keep him healthy. Although Brown averaged 5.3 yards per carry in 2012, Coughlin would be smart to limit his touches in an attempt to preserve his easily wounded body.
Neither runner will be effective without a powerful lead blocker, though, and fullback Henry Hynoski is out of commission until at least Week 1. Hynoski, who developed into one of the league's top fullbacks in his second year as a pro, severely damaged his knee on the very first practice of OTAs (MCL, chip fracture).
In Hynoski's place, 6'5" tight end and iron man Bear Pascoe is filling in. Pascoe has been forced into fullback duties before, so the team knows what it can expect from him. It is not an ideal situation, but it is one in which the Giants will make do until Hynoski is able to recover fully.