The Giants have a problem ... and they know it

New York needs patience with Wilson, but also needs a backup plan
09/09/2013 3:19 PM ET
By Doug Williams

Giants running back David Wilson fumbled twice in the team's season opener.(AP)


It's amazing how easily scripts can change.

If Da'Rel Scott had turned around in time for that screen pass, it's very possible that Eli Manning would have led the Giants down the other half of the field, possibly tying the game and sending it to overtime.

It would have been a script we've all read before. Eli Manning puts the Giants team on his back and single-handedly brings them back into the game.

But unfortunately for Giants fans, that's not at all what happened. In fact, Eli Manning ended up throwing his third interception of the day resulting in a Cowboys touchdown and an 0-1 record for the Giants.

So despite the fact that the Giants almost won a game with six turnovers, the focus is now on the massive question mark that is the running game. It's clear that Eli is going to be Eli. He's going to make an occasional mistake, but make up for it with impossible looking throws and majestic bombs to Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks.

But even though Eli can -- and has -- been able to win without a consistent running game, the fumbles are something that nobody can win with. And, like clockwork, there are reports today that the Giants are working out Willis McGahee and Brandon Jacobs for some extra running back depth after David Wilson's two fumbles last night. The Giants would be smart to sign either one, but it would not be the answer to their problems … the real answer is David Wilson.

David Wilson can't practice holding on to the ball while he's sitting on the bench. If he continues to have a serious problem with fumbles, then maybe you sit him and work on it in practice. But if the only proof is Week 1 in the past two seasons, then he needs to play through it. If Wilson has a big, fumble-less game next weekend, this could all be forgotten and the Giants would have their running game back.

Last year was different. Wilson was a rookie, and with Andre Brown and Ahmad Bradshaw on the roster the Giants could afford to sit Wilson and teach him a lesson. But Wilson isn't a rookie anymore, in fact, he's the starter now. And, when he hangs onto the football, he's as explosive as any back in the league.

I know that Tom Coughlin knows exactly what he's doing, like most Hall of Fame coaches. But fumbling the ball is a physical mistake and most coaches prefer those to mental. By sitting Wilson for an extended period of time, Coughlin would be unnecessarily adding to what has to be a difficult time for Wilson. Coughlin should show confidence in the guy. Adrian Peterson has fumbled twice in one quarter before, and Arian Foster fumbled four times in four games in 2011. This stuff happens.

But by signing a guy like McGahee (who is clearly a better option than Jacobs) the Giants would be adding more than just depth to the running back position, they'd be adding a voice in Wilson's ear. There's nobody on the Giants who has ever rushed for 1,000 yards in a season. Nobody who knows how Wilson feels and nobody who can teach him techniques that work. It's obvious that the Giants need to add a guy who changes that.

Look around the NFL. How many teams only have ONE starting-caliber running back? Ray Rice has Bernard Pierce. Stevan Ridley has Shane Vereen. Arian Foster has Ben Tate. Chris Johnson has Shonn Greene. And David Wilson -- FAR less proven than any of those previously mentioned -- has Da'Rel Scott? Wilson IS the answer and he IS the starter, but even some of the best and most experienced backs in the league can't do it alone. Both off the field and on. 

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