Sure, the offense has plenty to work on after an inconsistent preseason, but Gilbride wants to see his players in meaningful game action to see how they respond.
He is very excited about what second-year running back David Wilson brings to the table in a starting role. With Andre Brown out until at least midseason, Wilson will be the go-to guy in the backfield.
“We’d like to see David go a little bit more than what we’ve done in the past,” Gilbride said.
Gilbride hopes Wilson can go out Sunday and have a big game like he is capable of doing. The concern has been Wilson’s ability as a blocker, but Gilbride is impressed with how the young speedy back has improved.
“I really think he (Wilson) mas made a determined effort to be an effective blocker,” Gilbride said. “He has shown a willingness to go after people and be aggressive.”
In addition to Wilson, the Giants will need significant contributions from Da’Rel Scott with Brown on the shelf, Gilbride said he didn’t know how much time Scott would see, but he was encouraged with Scott’s preseason.
“Da’Rel is going to play, and he’s going to have to play well for us,” Gilbride said. “He’s an integral part of what we’re doing.”
As for Hakeem Nicks’ health, Gilbride said if there are no setbacks, Nicks will continue to get better, which is a scary thought for opposing defenses. Nicks reminds Gilbride of a Plaxico Burress-type talent in his prime.
“When he (Nicks) is at his best, I think it forces people to defend you a little differently,” Gilbride said.
The Giants will take on a Cowboys’ defense led by a new defensive coordinator in Monte Kiffin. All offseason, the Cowboys have been said to have a new defensive approach, and it seems that Gilbride has been doing his homework.
“I think he’s (Kiffin) much more mixing but is more inclined to be coverage,” Gilbride said. “I won’t say it’s conservative, but it’s certainly a much different approach than it’s been the last two years. It resembles what it was before that with Wade Phillips.”
A fast start is critical for the Giants, and it will likely be the play of the offense that dictates that start.
Follow Jim Mancari on Twitter @JMMancari.