Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE
Before the bye week New York Giants' wide receiver Hakeem Nicks talked to rookie receiver Rueben Randle and offered a word of advice. Nicks told Randle the season was coming to crunch time, and it's time for the rookies to really start picking up their game.
"[Nicks] said these next couple of weeks, we're going to need all you young guys to step up," said Randle. "The beginning of the season is over with, so it's about time we pick up our game and contribute."
Earlier in the year NBC broadcaster Cris Colinsworth suggested that the Giants were upset with Randle's work ethic in practice, which Randle didn't take too kindly. Randle has been working mostly as a punt returner this season getting few opportunities at wide receiver. He caught his first career NFL touchdown last week against the Green Bay Packers. He was hoping it would of came sooner in the season rather than later, so he wasn't making a big to-do about it. "It's big, but I'm not going to make a big deal about it. Just got to keep pushing and keep working."
Among the other key rookies to contribute in this late part of the season is running back David Wilson. Wilson's opportunities at running back were cut short all the way back to Week 1 when he fumbled on his first drive against the Dallas Cowboys. He's worked mostly as a kickoff returner. He's had some success returning kickoffs, including a 66-yard return against the San Francsico 49ers, and he scored his first career NFL touchdown against the Cleveland Browns on a carry in the second half.
Last Sunday the Giants lost their second running back Andre Brown to a broken leg, so a path for Wilson to really step up has opened. Veteran back Ahmad Bradshaw gave the rookie some advice, telling him about his rookie year when Derrick Ward went down with an injury.
"Be prepared so when your chance comes, you'll be ready. That's what I've been doing," said Wilson. "Completing quizzes with Henry [Hynoski], going through practice, shadowing Andre and Ahmad at practice and making sure I'm watching them and paying attention when they're in the games and seeing how I would react in the situation they're in and all the things you can do to prepare and be ready so when it's your turn you can step up without missing a step."
When asked about the next man up, Coach Tom Coughlin said it's Wilson's time to get going.
"It's his time. The timing as far as where he's coming from couldn't be any better, I don't think," said Coughlin. "If he's been very vigilant, and paid attention to the way that people have been corrected in front of him, then he's going to give himself the best opportunity."
It's not just an opportunity for Wilson to contribute to this offense. He understands the magnitude of it considering how huge Brown had been for the Giants. His big opportunity can come next Monday night against the Washington Redskins. Wilson feels he's ready to fill in Brown's shoes.
"Andre played a big role in our offense, so with his absence somebody is going to have to definitely step up on the offensive side of the ball and the coaches told me that I'm the next guy, so I've been preparing and hopefully I'll be ready when they call my number," said Wilson
-- You can follow Kelsey O'Donnell on Twitter @KelsODonnell