EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — David Wilson is ready to become an every-down halfback for the New York Giants in the wake of the injury to backup Andre Brown.
Wilson hasn’t been told by the coaching staff how the injury will change his role, but it seems obvious that he will have to shoulder more with a backup crew that wasn’t expected to get many carries.
Ryan Torain is the only truly experienced veteran. Da’Rel Scott has 11 carries in two seasons and Michael Cox is a rookie.
“Whatever they want me to do,” said Wilson, a 2012 first-round pick. “Like I said when I first came here, whatever the coaches need me to do. If they need me to kick a field goal, I’m going to go out there and give it 100 percent trying to kick a field goal. The workload is not a big factor for me.
“When I’m on the field, I want to be effective and help my team win games.”
The Giants have used a two-back system under coach Tom Coughlin and that wasn’t about to change this season.
Wilson was handed the starting job when the Giants released Ahmad Bradshaw after last season. Brown, who was coming off an impressive season in 2012 until it ended with a broken left leg, was going to be his backup.
The game plan changed Thursday night when Brown broke the same leg for the second time in nine months in the Giants’ preseason finale at New England. Brown did not think the break was a bad one after the game, but Coughlin had no further information Friday.
NFL teams have to reduce their rosters to the 53-man limit on Saturday so the extent of Brown’s injury is important. The Giants could put him on injured reserve with the option to reactivate him. However, each team can use that type of move just once in a season, and it’s uncertain whether the team will use it on a backup.
Brown also could be kept on the active roster while recovering. The Giants might elect to sign a free agent, such as veteran Brandon Jacobs, who left the team after the 2011 season.
For now, Wilson — all of 5-foot-9, and 205 pounds — is gearing himself to handle every phase of the halfback job in the season opener at Dallas Sept. 8. He had 71 carries last season, averaging 5.0 yards. He also caught four passes.
A breakaway threat, Coughlin believes Wilson can handle Brown’s usual workload, picking up blitzes and being the short-yardage back.
“David Wilson runs in there hard,” Coughlin said. “I don’t have a problem with that at all. He’s powerful. He’s compact. He has tremendous leg strength, which is his forte. For him to run the ball in short yardage and goal line, I don’t have an issue with that at all.”
Wilson smirked when asked about not being as big as Brown. People have questioned his size before.
“I run in between the tackles. Don’t get confused by my size, I’m a physical guy,” he said. “I’m from the country so, I grew up chopping wood and building houses with my dad.
“I’m well put together.”
Quarterback Eli Manning said it was disappointing to see Brown get hurt again after all his offseason work.
“Obviously, when you lose a running back, a guy who’s going to play a decent amount, it’s tough,” Manning said. “But David has had a good preseason. And we’ve got a couple other backs that have been in the system — veteran guys.
“So someone’s got to step up and obviously play a role and get some reps and help out the passing game.”
Center David Baas, who is recovering from a knee injury in the second preseason game, said the Giants will overcome.
“It definitely stinks that ‘Dre went down,” he said. “But this coaching staff and organization are going to put the people out there to put us in the best situation.
“They will figure it out.”
NOTES: LB Dan Connor said the shoulder he nicked making a tackle against the Patriots is better and he will be ready to practice Monday. … Bass worked out on the grass Friday but does not know if he will be ready for the season opener. His status is day-to-day. … TE Adrien Robinson sprained the side of his foot on Thursday. It is not known how long he will be out. … S Stevie Brown is waiting for the swelling in his left knee to subside before having surgery to repair his anterior cruciate ligament. He tore it against the Jets Saturday and was placed on injured reserve. “It’s very disappointing,” said Brown, who led the team with eight interceptions last season. “You work all summer getting ready for the season.”
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