The New York Giants will hold tryouts for free-agent running backs today after starter David Wilson fumbled twice in a 36-31 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1 of the National Football League season.
New York will work out Brandon Jacobs, Willis McGahee and former New York Jet Joe McKnight, according to ESPN and CBS Sports. Giants coach Tom Coughlin didn’t confirm the players’ names in a conference call with reporters last night.
“We’ll take a look at the players who are assigned to come in here tomorrow and see if there, in fact, is an upgrade and go from there,” Coughlin said. “You’re always searching to see if you can improve and where you can improve and that goes for a lot of spots.”
The Giants had planned to work out McGahee prior to the loss in Dallas, ESPN reported on its website. In the season opener, New York committed six turnovers and Wilson was benched during the third quarter following his second fumble.
Coughlin declined to say if Wilson, a 2012 first-round draft pick out of Virginia Tech, will start Sept. 15 at home against the Denver Broncos.
The game will be the first meeting between quarterback brothers Eli Manning and Peyton Manning since the latter moved to the Broncos. As an Indianapolis Colt, Peyton Manning, 35, went 2-0 against his now 32-year-old brother.
After fumbling on his first carry of the season, Wilson was stripped of the football by the Cowboys. Safety Barry Church returned the fumble 27 yards for a score to give Dallas a 20-10 lead at home. Coughlin said Wilson made it clear in a conversation yesterday that he’s “anxious to improve,” while the coach said he’ll give the 22-year-old another chance because “we need him.”
“We did preach so much about them being ball strippers and somehow, some way, that didn’t sink in,” Coughlin said. “He had the ball stripped twice. As I say, he’ll learn from it. He has great pride and we’ll try to get this under control.”
The Giants also are missing running back Andre Brown with a broken leg. Da’Rel Scott, who replaced Wilson, and Michael Cox, a rookie out of the University of Massachusetts, are the team’s only other running backs.
McGahee, 31, ran for 731 yards and four touchdowns for the Broncos last season. Jacobs, also 31, played his first seven seasons for the Giants and joined the San Francisco 49ers in 2012. He had five rushes for seven yards before being waived in December. McKnight, 25, played for the Jets from 2010 to 2012. He had 30 carries last season for 179 yards.
Wilson had one fumble in 71 carries last season.
“Early on, he had some errors last year and then he had a tremendous year as a kick returner, taking some real shots and was able to secure the ball in those circumstances,” Coughlin said. “We’ve been down this road before and we think we can have an impact on him being a better ball carrier, a better secure ball carrier. We’ll get that done.”