Much of the New York Giants' offseason has centered around which wide receivers will line up Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys. It was a given David Wilson would line up behind Eli Manning, wasn't it?
Not so fast.
Following OTAs last week, New York Giants running backs coach Jerald Ingram told the media the second-year running back is in position to compete to be the starting back. But although Wilson has the talent and has made the necessary progress to be the No. 1, the offense will continue to revolve around a number of different contributors.
"I think (Wilson has) grown. He has a fairly good understanding of the offense right now. He’s definitely in position to be the guy, but I think just like what we’ve done in the past here, we’re going to be a rotation type team and what certain backs do best, we’ll play," Ingram said. "I think he’s a play-maker. He’s definitely going to contribute and help us out. There are some goals that he has to accomplish for us. He’s definitely on a better track than he was a year ago in understanding our protections and doing those kinds of things."
After Wilson emerged down the stretch of last season in place of the injured Ahmad Bradshaw, it seemed as if it was a forgone conclusion he would be the lead dog in 2013.
Some issues remained. Wilson has a track record of fumbling and struggled in pass protection, two of head coach Tom Coughlin's biggest pet peeves.
The sophomore running back has made progress on both ends, according to Ingram, who said Wilson must prove he's capable of being a well-rounded performer in order to secure the starting job.
"When we go to camp, (Wilson) knows what his goals are right now and what he has to accomplish to be a complete running back and contribute on our team," he said. "I think we’ll get that out of him. He’ll be a much improved player from that situation this year.
"We’ve got a tradition of great running backs here that have established themselves as leaders on this team and that’s where he’s got to be. He’s got to be a guy that Eli can trust in every situation possible and we’ll go from there, but right now I think he’s on track."
Wilson's biggest challenger for the starting gig is, of course, Andre Brown. The bruising back found the end zone a career-best eight times in 2012 before his season ended prematurely due to a broken leg in late November.
Ingram told reporters Brown appears to be 100-percent healthy, meaning he will be able to have an impact on the offense immediately.
"(Brown is) motivated. It’s an opportunity for him. He’s been waiting a lifetime around here for that. We brought him in here because he can catch the ball, he can run, he can do a lot of things and be a complete running back here and he’s definitely a true every down kind of guy because he’s got size, speed and quickness," Ingram said. "We saw some things out of him a year ago, which was great and it’s a great opportunity for him."
The running back positions is a bit of a question mark for the first time in a number of years, as the iants are without Ahmad Bradshaw.
The injury-prone veteran running back was released at the start of the offseason, and as teams passed on his services, rumors surfaced he and the New York Giants may possibly reunite.
However, reports at the end of last week indicated Bradshaw was close to signing a deal to join the Indianapolis Colts. Today, NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported the two sides are engaged in "heavy negotiations."