David Wilson's 2012 season began rather inauspiciously when the then-rookie running back fumbled in a 24-17 loss against Dallas. Wilson spent the next 13 or so weeks just trying to work his way back into the Giants' running back rotation, which he only really managed to accomplish after Andre Brown broke his leg in late November.
This year was supposed to be different. With Brown again sidelined by a leg injury and longtime Giant Ahmad Bradshaw in Indianapolis, Wilson entered 2013 as the unquestioned top dog in New York's backfield.
But another matchup with Dallas, and another nightmare for Wilson, may leave the Giants seeking out other options in the coming days.
Wilson was benched in favor of Da'Rel Scott during the Giants' Sunday night game with the Cowboys, after the second-year back coughed up a pair of fumbles and whiffed on a key block, allowing a sack of Eli Manning. The sack came two plays after New York's Ryan Mundy picked off a Tony Romo pass and returned it to the Dallas 1. As Manning dropped to throw, George Selvie came through off the right side of the Giants' line and managed to sidestep a flailing Wilson for a free shot at the QB.
For as poor as that effort was, though, the pair of turnovers were far more damaging. The first came on a 1st-and-goal from the Dallas' 8 and killed a promising Giants drive. The second resulted in a Cowboys touchdown, when Barry Church scooped up the loose ball and raced to the end zone.
Ironically enough, Wilson really started to cement his status as the Giants' go-to back after a Brown fumble in the team's preseason opener.
"You could be in the doghouse for a while if you put that ball on the ground here," Brown admitted after that miscue, per the New York Daily News.
The Giants believed that Wilson had put his error-prone ways in the past -- and with Brown on injured reserve for at least eight weeks, they had almost no choice but to keep that faith.
Scott, Brown's fill-in on Sunday night, had all of 25 yards on 11 rush attempts over his first two NFL seasons. So even if Wilson works his way back into the starting lineup, the Giants could check out the free-agent market, where names like Willis McGahee, Michael Turner and Kevin Smith lurk; or they could go searching for a trade to add some depth.
Regardless of what's next, this certainly isn't where the Giants planned to be one game into the season. Wilson may have a bright future ahead of him as an NFL running back, but he has much more work to do to earn Coughlin's trust.
"Don't think for a second I'm down on myself," Wilson tweeted Monday. "everything happens for a reason I'm too blessed; wouldn't be life if I didn't have no obstacles."