Despite adding old friend Brandon Jacobs to the running backs mix, head coach Tom Coughlin said that the team is still very much counting on David Wilson, who had two costly fumbles in last week’s season opening loss to the Cowboys, to be a big part of the Giants’ offense moving forward.
“As I’ve said many times, we need him,” Coughlin said of the second year running back. “He’s necessary. He’s going to have to overcome this issue. He’s a marked man. So he’s really going to have to overcome it.”
At the same time, Coughlin again stressed the importance of Wilson following the coaching instruction regarding handling the ball, especially when he goes to make a move in traffic.
“You make a move and the ball leaves your side and the pocket that you’ve established for it, you have trouble<” Coughlin said. “When there’s no place to go and other people are surrounding you, you have no choice but to cover it up with both hands and get in position where you protect the football.
“He can do a good job of covering the ball up. He was careless and it cost us dearly. But I’m confident he’s going to learn from it.”
If Wilson continues to struggle, Coughlin expressed confidence in Da’Rel Scott, who replaced Wilson after the second fumble.
“I think he played pretty well the other night,” Coughlin said of Scott. “Obviously it wasn’t perfect, but he did play pretty well the other night and he did do some of the things that he needed to do under those circumstances that helped us at least get in position.”
And then there is the addition of Jacobs, who re-signed with the team yesterday following a workout.
“Brandon comes in at a time when the veteran running back with size is someone that can help u,” said Coughlin. “He has been out of football for a while and is very anxious to have another opportunity and is willing to do whatever we ask him to do to help our team.”
While it’s unlikely that Jacobs will be given many touches, he could prove to be valuable as a pass blocker and, more importantly as a mentor to Wilson, though Coughlin stressed that Jacobs wasn’t brought on board strictly to mentor Wilson.
“He’s here to contribute to our team,” he said. “What David Wilson can learn from Brandon, fine. And Brandon will do a good job in that regard. But that’s not the primary reason he’s here”.
So where does that leave the Giants running back situation then? Coughlin and the coaches will be watching Wilson very closely this week, looking for consistency in how the young man handles the ball.
“In practice he’s going to have to have the ball in that position all the time, not just when he thinks he’s running free and there’s nobody around him,” he said. “I want to see the ball in the right spot all the time. And quite frankly there’s nowhere else to go with this.
“I don’t know what else to say to you. I realize it’s a major issue for everybody, but there’s a way to carry the ball and there’s a way to protect the ball. Ball security is No. 1. And that’s what he’s going to have to demonstrate.”