EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** Tom Coughlin wasn't willing or ready today to say David Wilson will keep his job as the Giants' starting running back. But it's clear both the head coach and Wilson's teammates support the second-year pro, who was removed from the game after fumbling for the second time last night in the season-opening 36-31 loss in Dallas.
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Asked if Wilson will start Sunday, when the Giants face the Denver Broncos in their MetLife Stadium opener, Coughlin said, "I'm not going to get into that yet. We'll see what happens here as we get started in the week."
Multiple media outlets reported today that the Giants will bring in several running backs for a workout tomorrow. Such tryouts occur regularly throughout the league during the season.
"We've had workouts since the 53 cut (to shape the regular-season roster), we had a long extended workout last week and we're doing the same thing this week," Coughlin said. "We will take a look at the players that are assigned to come in tomorrow and see if there, in fact, is an upgrade and go from there."
The Giants currently have three backs on their roster in Wilson, Da'Rel Scott and rookie Michael Cox. Scott replaced Wilson last night and ran for a team-high 23 yards. But he failed to secure a late Eli Manning pass that bounced off his arm and which Brandon Carr turned into the Cowboys' final touchdown with a 49-yard interception return.
Does Coughlin think he needs to add a running back?
"I thought Da'Rel did a good job last night in a role that he didn't expect to get that many snaps, but he came in and did a good job," Coughlin said. "You're always searching to see if you can improve and where you can improve. That goes for a lot of spots."
Wilson has come to personify the Giants' carelessness with the ball during last night's game. The team committed six turnovers, including three Manning interceptions, two Wilson fumbles and a punt that struck Trumaine McBride on the upper arm and was recovered by Dallas (officially another fumble).
But it was Wilson who was instructed to remain on the sideline. NBC, which televised the game, showed several shots of him sitting forlornly on the bench. After the game, Wilson spoke briefly and softly to reporters.
"(I'm) going back to work," Wilson said. "Get this game behind me. God will bring me through it. I have got to work hard. And my teammates have my back. I'm looking forward to moving to the next game."
Wilson lost a fumble in the 2012 season opener and was given only 26 rushing attempts in the next 11 games. The Giants players and coaches now have a better sense of his capability – Wilson shattered the franchise record for kickoff return yards as a rookie in 2012 – and fully support him.
"I'm not worried about him," wide receiver Victor Cruz said. "This team is going to rally around him. We need him specifically just to keep his mind on track, because we are going to need him to win ball games. We are going to need him to be that big play running back that we know he can be. We just have to rally behind him right now."
"I went and talked to him and told him, 'This is how you started the season last year,'" said cornerback Terrell Thomas, who knows a little bit about overcoming adversity after missing the previous two seasons following knee reconstructions. "I told him, 'Don't let this be you. How you define yourself next week in practice or how you talk to the media is how you're going to define your character. Be a man. 'I have to do a better job protecting the ball and step up next week.' He's in the doghouse now with coach Coughlin. He needs to do a better job with that. Maybe he needs to be like Tiki (Barber) and hold the ball high.
"He's a very good back for us that we need on the field. Hopefully he can get back on the field sooner rather than later."
Coughlin, who is notoriously intolerant of turnovers, helped cure Barber of his fumbleitis when the coach arrived here in 2004. Despite what happened last night, he has faith Wilson can be similarly cured.
"Early on he had some errors last year and then he had a tremendous year as a kick returner, taking some drill shots and was able to secure the ball under those circumstances," Coughlin said. "I think we did preach so much about them (the Cowboys) being ball strippers and somehow, someway that didn't sink in. He had the ball stripped twice and he'll learn from it. He's got great pride and we'll try to get this under control."