Giants To Rely on Youth Down the Stretch
Jim Mancari , Contributor
As the Giants’ motto has been all season, if someone gets hurt, the next guy steps up.
In Big Blue’s win over the Packers, running Andre Brown broke his fibula and will miss the remainder of the season.
First-round pick David Wilson will finally be given his second chance. He fumbled his second career carry and was relegated solely to kick return duties.
Though he’s done a nice job in the return game, the Giants did not waste a first-round pick on just a kick returner. Wilson will be called upon often to alleviate the workload of Ahmad Bradshaw.
“Andre played a big role in our offense, so with his absence somebody is going to have to definitely step up on the offensive side of the ball and the coaches told me that I’m the next guy,” Wilson said. “So I’ve been preparing and hopefully I’ll be ready when they call my number.”
Bradshaw was thrust into a similar situation as Wilson late in 2007, when Derrick Ward broke his left leg. He had a huge game in Week 15 against the Bills in which the Giants clinched a playoff spot. He was also a major contributor in the playoffs, backing up Brandon Jacobs.
Wilson will hope for a similar output in his first hopefully extended NFL action.
“I’m just going to go out there and play football and play as hard as I can and provide production for my team,” Wilson said.
Even though the Giants signed running backs Ryan Torain and Kregg Lumpkin on Tuesday, Wilson will handle secondary back duties. These other two backs were brought in as emergency options if any more injuries occur.
To this point, Wilson has been soaking everything in and desperately awaiting his next opportunity. He’ll have that chance Monday night against the Redskins.
“I think the most important thing I learned is go to the next play,” the rookie said. “You’re used to in college having a lot of big plays, and you watch Ahmad and Andre and all across the league, it’s all about consistency and the pace. So just execute, execute and then move to the next play.”
In addition to Wilson, Rueben Randle will continue to be called upon in big spots. He scored a his first career touchdown against the Packers, and with Domenik Hixon struggling with injuries, Eli Manning needs a consistent third target on the outside.
“Hakeem (Nicks) talked to me before the bye week,” Randle said. “He said these next couple of weeks, we’re going to need all you young guys to step up. The beginning of the season is over with, so it’s about time we pick up our game and contribute.”
Other than his six-catch performance in Week 5 against the Browns, Randle has not caught more than two passes in a game this season. Still, he said he’s adjusting well to Manning’s style.
“I’m getting more comfortable with the offense,” he said. “Coach is giving me more and more trust, so I’m just looking forward to making plays.”
Randle and Wilson, the Giants’ first two picks from this past summer’s draft, will be getting their chance during the most critical stretch of the season. The Giants have a full two-game lead over the Redskins and Cowboys, but as we’ve learned in the past, no lead is completely safe in the NFC East.
“We’re feeling pretty good right now,” Randle said about himself and Wilson. “I don’t think we hit it quite yet, so we’re just looking to push forward and don’t let anything get in our way. So we’ll be prepared for these next couple of weeks.”
We’ll find out Monday night if these rookies are ready to shine in the spotlight.
Follow Jim Mancari on Twitter @JMMancari.