The decision was as swift as Tom Coughlin was sure of the reason.
Asked Monday why he benched first-round rookie David Wilson after fumbling his second professional carry, Coughlin went to the stats.
He pointed out that the Giants are 46-9 under his leadership when they win the turnover battle. They were even Wednesday, and lost to Dallas in the opener.
“It’s more, ‘Let the veteran play and let’s hope we don’t have another occasion to shoot ourselves in the foot,’” Coughlin said Monday, via Jorge Castillo of the Newark Star-Ledger.
Wilson didn’t take another offensive snap the rest of the night, leaving Ahmad Bradshaw to take the rest of the reps at running back.
Bradshaw played 52 of the Giants’ 54 offensive plays.
To his credit, Wilson understood. He had a reputation as a fumbler at Virginia Tech, and knows that can’t continue if he wants to play for Coughlin.
“After you don’t get back on the field because of that, you kind of put one and two together, it’s not hard to understand that,” Wilson said. “Like I said, it happens in football. Turnovers are a part of football, but it’s definitely not something you want to have your name beside.”
It’s an unfair expectation to think a player’s never going to fumble, but Coughlin talked about the stakes of playing a division game in the opener.
“Everybody wants to say, ‘Well you didn’t play him then, after that you didn’t play him,’” Coughlin said. “Well, we’re playing the opening game of the year. It’s a divisional game. We had just driven the ball. We’re going to be a little reluctant, okay? This is not the preseason, you know? Let’s go for stage two here.”
After a rough start, Wilson’s now back to square one, however.