Bradshaw’s sprained knee may keep him out of Sunday’s contest against the Atlanta Falcons. That just means that the next guy in line – in this case David Wilson – will have to come up big if Bradshaw is out.
“We’ve had guys who have always stepped up and recognized the absence of one player is going to require someone else to elevate their game, whether it’s performance on the field or emotional,” Gilbride said. “His (Bradshaw) toughness with everybody is always appreciated and that enthusiasm he brings. So you lose that.”
But if Wilson can even have half the performance from last week, the Giants could still be in good shape, especially if Wilson sets the team up with good field position on kick returns.
“He (Wilson) made two great runs that were great to see,” Gilbride said. “He’s still got some areas that you guys won’t see that he’ll need some significant upgrading so we can keep the entire offense going. But it was tremendous to see his dynamism.”
Gilbride was certainly impressed with Wilson’s burst of speed, but he also took notice of a few tough runs that Wilson had. Gilbride said that Wilson’s comfort level is growing, and he’s making fewer mistakes as he matures as a football player.
“To his credit, he kept working, and little by little he got better,” Gilbride said. “He had a good game for us and hopefully that’s a starting point.”
In preparing for the Falcons’ defense, Gilbride acknowledged that the Giants will see plenty of blitz packages similar to last week against the Saints. However, Falcons’ defensive coordinator Mike Nolan has a different blitz style than Steve Spagnuolo of the Saints.
“It’s a different approach in terms of the nature of the blitzes, but it’s not different in terms of what his (Nolan) philosophical leanings are,” Gilbride said. “He wants to come after you, particularly when you go to your spread set. Can you sort out where the pressure is coming from? If you can, then you’ve got some opportunities schematically, and it comes down to if you’re good enough to beat them.”
Eli Manning and company need to be aware that the Falcons’ defense has several veteran players that are very skilled and willing to take chances. Sometimes though, taking those risks results in vacating their responsibilities.
Sound play calling coupled with a few big plays could send the Giants on their way to an important road victory.
Follow Jim Mancari on Twitter @JMMancari.