New York Giants running back David Wilson had his fair share of struggles early in the 2013 season. He lost two fumbles in the opener against the Dallas Cowboys and never really got on track. Wilson only played in five games and averaged a dismal 3.3 yards per carry over that span.
Despite his struggles, the second-year running back is still the future in the Giants' backfield. Wilson has shown glimpses of his ability to be an electrifying ball-carrier—he just needs a little experience to clean up his play.
Wilson's situation got even worse after suffering a terrible neck injury in a Week 5 contest against the Philadelphia Eagles. He was diagnosed with a herniated disc in his neck and stenosis of the spine—potential career-ending injuries.
Now the situation needs to be reevaluated, as the team's official website stated on Monday that Wilson's neck has shown "significant improvement."
With Wilson's early-season struggles, the Giants' 2-6 record and a bad injury in mind, it may be in the best interests of the Giants—and Wilson—to shut the running back down for the rest of the season.
During their 15-7 win against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 8, the Giants' running game showed signs of life thanks to running back Peyton Hillis and fullback John Conner. Even though Hillis only averaged 3.5 yards per carry, he proved to be an effective workhorse and brought balance to the offense.
Hillis is the type of runner that may not have a glamorous style, but can grind it out and wear down a defense over the course of the game. This type of running style is a perfect fit for this offense because it takes a fair amount of pressure off of Eli Manning and the passing game.
Manning has not thrown an interception over the past two weeks when the power running game was predominantly featured. This was the first—and second—time this season that Manning did not record an interception over the span of a game.
Avoiding turnovers results in wins—a formula that the Giants have found to be true throughout the duration of the 2013 season.
The backfield situation gets even better for the Giants with the return of running back Andre Brown for their Week 10 matchup against the Oakland Raiders.
I’m just ready to go out there and inspire people, fight for every yard. I feel great. My legs feel great. What I did during the bye week really helped. I worked it and rested and worked it again. I ran a couple of conditioning drills. I came back in here and it’s pretty solid right now. I don’t feel no little aches or nothing any more. During warm-ups a couple of weeks ago I still ached a little bit. But now that’s not even happening. So I feel great.
Brown has yet to play in 2013; however, he was very impressive last season. His 2012 numbers included 73 rushes for 385 yards—an average of 5.3 yards per carry—and eight touchdowns. He also caught 12 passes for 86 yards.
The return of Brown and the resurgence of Hillis already makes for a formidable duo in the Giants' backfield. New York will also have to essentially win the remainder of their games this season to potentially claim a postseason berth.
All things taken into consideration, it may not be a wise move to rush Wilson back into action with the team all but out of playoff contention.
Shutting down Wilson could also benefit the Giants late this season if the team were to make a dramatic turnaround.
New York does not have to place Wilson on injured reserve. Instead, the Giants could simply elect to keep him inactive for the remainder of the season. If they were to claim a postseason berth, they would have a rested—and recovered—Wilson at their disposal.
A fresh running back in January is such a luxury for an NFL team. These backs take a beating throughout the regular season, and sometimes the wheels can begin to fall off come playoff time. In this circumstance, Wilson could turn out to be a very sneaky weapon for the Giants.
If the Giants do not make the postseason—which is a far more likely scenario—they will have a vastly improved Wilson ready to go for the 2014 season.
Shutting down Wilson protects the future interests of this franchise. The Giants will need all pieces in place to get back to their winning ways. Allowing Wilson significant recovery time is of the utmost importance if the Giants are to be competitive once again.