New York Giants rookie David Wilson made himself a list of lofty goals shortly before his rookie season formally began on Wednesday night. Rest assured that two carries for four yards, a fumble and an abrupt game over wasn’t one of them.
The burner out of Virginia Tech and the Giants’ first-round pick was stripped of the football by Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee after taking a toss to the left side from Eli Manning in the first quarter. Once safety Barry Church recovered the ball, Wilson headed straight to the sidelines, never again to see another snap out of the backfield.
"I saw him. I mean it just happened, fumbles," Wilson told reporters after the game. "Can’t let it happen no more though.
"When you fumble, you want to put it behind you and move forward with the game, but I didn’t get another offensive play in. It’s hard to put it behind you when that’s the last play you can remember, but I understand the coaches… I know I didn’t have much room for error being a rookie and then having a critical error like that, like a turnover. You just live and you learn and you move forward."
Once on the sidelines, Wilson was caught on camera emotional and consoled by Hakeem Nicks, Osi Umenyiora and running backs coach Jerald Ingram. Some accused Wilson of crying. He insisted he wasn’t, but you can expect him to plead an emotional – and physical case – to earn back Tom Coughlin’s trust over the next 10 days before the Giants resume their season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at MetLife Stadium.
"He’s a rookie. Everybody makes mistakes. We all make mistakes," Umenyiora said. "He just made one and he’s a helluva football player, a very talented back. He’s going to respond. I just needed to let him know that no one was disappointed in him. We’ve all made those mistakes before and he’s going to step up and help this team win."
Wilson also lost his kickoff return responsibilities to Andre Brown before bringing back one more in the fourth quarter, but with such growing pains come the humility of lessons learned. The theme can actually extend to the rest of the Giants, who clearly didn’t bring their ‘A’ game before a national television audience. Linebacker Spencer Paysinger Tweeted, "Humble pie is disgusting...but we gotta eat it. #BackToWork." Coughlin, who preached to "build a bridge" from last season’s success, was just as blunt in assessing a project that is a long way towards completion, longer than anyone realized.
"Take a bite out of humble pie, is basically what it is," Coughlin said. "It brings you right back down to Earth. There won’t be any more blowing smoke up their rear ends. Last year is last year. This year is this year."
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