Take a good look at this photo. It might be the last time you see David Wilson carrying the ball for a while. It damn well will be the last time you see Wilson carrying the ball with one hand, or Tom Coughlin will eat his heart.
Though the Giants were in classic late-season form, this felt a lot like last year's opener for the second-year back, when he carried the ball twice, fumbled, and was sent to Coughlin's doghouse until December. But this time, after Wilson lost the ball early in the first quarter and again in the third, there was no Andre Brown (broken leg) or Ahmad Bradshaw (Indianapolis) to turn to. If Wilson were to be taught a lesson, the Giants would have to roll with Da'Rel Scott and his 11 career carries. They benched Wilson. Don't test Tom Coughlin.
"All we talked about all week long was they were coming to strip the ball," Coughlin said. "We can be better. He can get better at that. He can run with two hands on the ball just like anybody else. Not going to play unless they can hang onto the ball. It’s demoralizing to the whole team. He is a talented young man. We will get him right even if he has to run around the field with two balls."
Coughlin said he was "totally disappointed and embarrassed by that kind of football," which—luckily for Wilson—was a team affair. Three interceptions, a muffed punt, and an uncanny knack for executing those turnovers at the exact wrong moments.
After miscommunication led to the loss-sealing interception bouncing off of Da'Rel Scott, the future of the Giants running game became murkier. Will David Wilson be shot directly into the sun, or will he get another chance? Coughlin seemed to indicate that Wilson will get another chance, only because there's really no other option.
"Give us a little time to work on this thing," Coughlin said. "He’s still very much in our thoughts. (Ed. note: Is he dead?) He’s got to play."
Does he? The Giants worked out Beanie Wells, Leon Washington, and Jonathan Dwyer last week, though Dwyer appears close to re-signing with Pittsburgh. Willis McGahee, Ryan Grant, Kevin Smith, and Tim Hightower are among the free agent backs. Hell, Brandon Jacobs is out there.
Wilson was relatively composed while meeting with reporters after the game, though he was eager to cut his media session short.
"It was a tough situation to be in. God never gives you more than you can handle. Everything happened for a reason. He can bring me through it. I just have to keep working hard. I’m at the bottom now. There’s nowhere to go but up."
Just keep on believing that, David. You're a young player with undeniable talent, and even the great ones have struggled at first—they just needed a coach with faith that they'd get it right. And it's well-known that Tom Coughlin has a soft spot for turnover-prone runners, and the patience to let them work the kinks out on the field.