New York Giants running back David Wilson is a “marked man” after losing two fumbles in the team’s opening game and has to prove he can hold onto the ball, coach Tom Coughlin said.
Wilson, a first-round pick in the 2012 National Football League draft, was benched after turning the ball over twice in the Giants’ 36-31 loss to the Dallas Cowboys last week.
Coughlin said he hasn’t decided whether Wilson will start again this week against the Denver Broncos after the team signed former Giants running back Brandon Jacobs.
“We’ll see,” Coughlin said during a news conference. “We need him. He’s going to have to overcome this issue. He’s a marked man, so he’s really going to have to overcome it.”
Coughlin said Wilson needs to demonstrate improved ball security at today’s practice. Wilson fumbled inside the Cowboys’ 10-yard line on his first carry of the season and later lost a fumble that was returned 24 yards for a touchdown and gave Dallas a 20-10 third-quarter lead.
Wilson lost one fumble in 71 carries as a rookie -- on his second career carry, also in the season opener against Dallas. He had no further carries in that game.
In practice so far, “he’s following the technique that’s been taught,” Coughlin said. “We’ll see under pressure whether he can continue to do that. He was careless and it cost us dearly. I’m confident he’ll learn from it.”
The Giants, who lost backup running back Andre Brown to a broken left leg in their final preseason game, re-signed Jacobs, 31, yesterday. Da’Rel Scott and rookie Michael Cox are their other running backs.
Jacobs, who played with the Giants from 2005 to 2011, appeared in two games for the San Francisco 49ers last season and had seven yards on five rushes. At 6-foot-4 and 256 pounds, Jacobs may help in pass blocking, where the 5-foot-9 Wilson struggled at times.
“Brandon comes in at a time when a veteran running back with size is someone that can help us,” Coughlin said. “He’s been out of football for a while. He is very anxious to have another opportunity and is willing to do whatever we ask him to do to help our team.”
Coughlin briefly benched running backs Tiki Barber and Ahmad Bradshaw because of fumbles earlier in his tenure as the Giants’ coach. He said Wilson also has to reduce his mistakes.
“We’re not going to have a guy on the field who’s fumbling the ball,” Coughlin said before expressing frustration about the number of questions about the Giants’ running back situation.
“I can’t say any more about David Wilson,’ he added. “I realize it’s a major issue for everybody. There’s a way to carry the ball. Ball security is No. 1, and that’s what he’s going to have to demonstrate.”