On offense in particular – looking past Eli Manning, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz of course – a few young guns will be looked upon to shoulder the load.
And offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride is confident that these young guns will come through.
Second-year back David Wilson and Andre Brown will form this season’s rushing attack. Both had positive moments last year but still have much to learn.
“I think in terms of running the ball, I don’t think there’s any question that both of them are capable of being the bell cow whether we ask them 10, 15 or 20 times a game,” Gilbride said. “I think they’ll both be able to do that fairly well. Are they flawless? Are their entry decisions perfect? No. But I think they’re talented enough; they’re gifted enough. I think they’re advanced enough to do well.”
Brown had some serious momentum going for him last year before a broken fibula ended his season. But even so, he’s bound to see an even more increased role with Ahmad Bradshaw running for the Indianapolis Colts.
“Andre is a legitimate pass receiver out of the backfield,” Gilbride said. “I think he’s grown as far as his pass protection. We’re going to ask more of him now with the loss of Henry (Hynoski) who we really would have used as a third-down back because of his protection skills. It’s going to be a challenge to see if he can be consistent enough in that aspect.”
As far as Wilson, Gilbride said that the speedster has worked feverishly to get better in all aspects of his game. He now has to prove that his size won’t be an issue in taking on bigger opposing linebackers.
“I think he’s (Wilson) certainly tough enough,” Gilbride said. “He shows that as a runner, but he has to show his ability and his willingness to do it as a blocker. I am confident that he now has grown to the point that he knows who to block; now it’s a matter of doing it.”
On the receiving end, a few wide outs got their chance to show what they could during OTAs since Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks were not there. Gilbride was very impressed with Rueben Randle.
“He (Randle) really took advantage of not having the other two guys here,” Gildbride said. “He became the leader of the group. He made great strides, and of course he caught the ball well, which he’s always done, but he really showed a commitment to learning the nuances of getting better as a receiver.”
Louis Murphy also has a chance to factor heavily into the offense. Gilbride said Murphy was brought in to give the team speed on the outside and now has to gain more of a familiarity with the offense.
“I think he’s (Murphy) going to give us at least that speed component,” Gilbride said. “Now it’s a matter of how much more he can do because that will determine how much more he plays.”
It’s nice to know Gilbride has confidence in these new faces, especially since they will be the guys who can make or break the Giants’ season.
Follow Jim Mancari on Twitter @JMMancari.