A changing of the guard was set in motion last month when the Giants released running back Ahmad Bradshaw. The six-year vet’s departure jumpstarted the competition for the lead role, and David Wilson, last year’s first-round draft choice by the Giants, has set his eyes on it.
“I mean that’s definitely my intention,” Wilson said Thursday on ESPN NY 98.7FM. “But you’ve got to go in and come into camp and definitely lock the spot down. So I’ve been working hard this offseason so I can give myself the best chance to do that.”
Among others, Andre Brown shares that intention and will also vie for more time out of the backfield. But Wilson believes turning the corner after the bye in Week 11 of his rookie season will give him an edge heading into 2013.
“After that bye week, I took that time to really stay in the meeting rooms extra and definitely catch up,” said Wilson, who had just 18 carries before the break and three games with none. “So after that bye week, I think that’s when I really had a good grasp of what was going on, and I was able to go out there and perform and have some good games and some good moments.”
Wilson went on to finish the year with 71 carries for 358 yards (5.0 average) and four touchdowns, and averaged more than 10 rushes for 60 yards per game in the final four weeks of the season. The increased load was partly due to his role in the blocking schemes, which had been a question mark early on.
“It was pretty fair,” Wilson said of people critiquing him. “When the game’s on the line, the ball is going to be in Eli [Manning’s] hands for him to make the decisions. So in order for him to make decisions accurately, he’s got to be able to stand in the pocket. But as well, it was a part of just bringing me along slow. The coaches weren’t really in a rush. Ahmad was definitely doing his part in making plays for the team, and I guess they didn’t feel like they were going to rush to really get me on the field.”
Of course, the final question remains his role as a kick returner.
Wilson became the first player in NFL history to record 200 kick return yards and 100 rushing yards in the same game with his performance against New Orleans in Week 14. But if he plans on being an every-down back, can he still return kicks?
“That’s definitely one of my passions,” he said. “So I would definitely enjoy being back there and helping in that aspect too.”
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Tags: Andre Brown, David Wilson
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