Wilson will be tested in Pittsburgh

August, 6, 2013
8/06/13
2:39
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Giants' starting running back job remains up for grabs, and the team's first preseason game against the Steelers will be a critical juncture.

David Wilson is the leading candidate. There's no question he's a dynamic playmaker with the ball in his hands, but the second-year pro is still a question mark when it comes to pass protection.

"David has worked diligently in learning the offense and being more confident about his job -- from that standpoint, he has a better awareness as far as what his job is," running backs coach Jerald Ingram said Tuesday. "Now physical [contact] and that kind of thing, that’ll be tested this week. We’re looking forward to that."

"We don’t have a true blitz drill here," Ingram added. "Playing against a physical team such as Pittsburgh will be a very good test for him. We’re gonna try to put him in as many situations as we can."

One of the best qualities of former Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw was his ability to pick up the blitz, and his willingness to sacrifice his body to protect Eli Manning.

Ingram believes that with Wilson, that same willingness is there.

"I don’t see he’s afraid to in any way, not at all," the coach said. "The guy’s got courage. He just has to learn how to."

Wilson said Tuesday that he has gotten stronger during the offseason, and is eager to show it off in Pittsburgh on Saturday night.

"I’m really looking forward to contact in this first preseason game," he said, "and getting back in the flow of how it feels to break a tackle and how it feels to make a block."

But he obviously won't be the only Giant in the backfield. Andre Brown is currently listed on the depth chart as a co-starter, and has been splitting the first-team reps with Wilson.



Brown wasn't a first-round pick, like Wilson. But he was very effective for the Giants last season before getting hurt, and is a much bigger back.

Ingram said the Giants saw great potential in Brown when they drafted him in the fourth round in 2009, but injuries stalled his progress.

"It’s a great opportunity for him, and I think he’s worked hard to be in that position right now," Ingram said. "He deserved it."

It remains to be seen how the Giants will divide the snaps and carries between Wilson and Brown in Pittsburgh, and beyond. But it's a safe bet both will see plenty of action. The Giants have a history of utilizing multiple running backs.

"I’m not quite sure how the coaches have it arranged," Wilson said. "When either one of us is in there, we’re just gonna do our job."

Da'Rel Scott is currently listed as the team's third running back, followed by Ryan Torain, and then rookie Michael Cox.

Ingram likes his group overall: "There’s some good solid looking young men that we’re pretty excited about in that position."
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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