The rookie safety from Tennessee, who has risen from obscure fifth-round choice to one of the Giants’ most important defensive players, was today named the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Month.
“He’s playing like a Pro Bowler,” general manager Ernie Accorsi said. “I’m not going to try to figure him out any more. I’m just going to enjoy him.”
Wilson is the second Giant to be honored by the NFL in two days. David Tyree yesterday was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week.
Wilson was inactive for the first game of the season and played as a reserve in Week 2 against Washington, when he intercepted his first pass. On September 24, Shaun Williams suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice. Wilson stepped into the starting lineup two days later against Cleveland and came up with another interception.
In October, Wilson started every game as the Giants went 3-1 and the defense allowed an average of 14.5 points per game. Wilson recorded a sack or interception in three of four games in the month, finishing as the team’s leading tackler three times. He posted 30 tackles, including 25 solo, 2.0 sacks for a loss of 10 yards, one interception and two passes defensed. In last week’s 34-13 rout of the Vikings in Minnesota, Wilson’s interception and 39-yard return set up a five-yard touchdown run by Tiki Barber that gave the Giants a 17-0 advantage.
“I just think he played the way we’ve come to expect him to play,” coach Tom Coughlin said. “He played with outstanding energy and anticipation. He was very physical. The screen that he broke up was a very good play. The interception…I told him that he might have had two more. There were two more balls that were in the area where he was that he might have been able to make a play on, so he certainly did prepare well and play well.”
Wilson leads the Giants in tackles (39, including 33 solo) and tops the team and is tied for the NFL rookie lead with three interceptions.
* Three players did not practice today, including two of the team’s starting linebackers. Strongside backer Carlos Emmons has been added to the injury list as questionable with a hip flexor. Weakside linebacker Barrett Green is questionable with knee and ankle injuries he suffered at Minnesota.
Center Shaun O’Hara continues to recover from the leg infection that hospitalized him for five days.
* Mike Cloud ran for 55 yards and two touchdowns against the Vikings, while Ron Dayne was inactive. But Coughlin said that does not mean Cloud is now the No. 2 running back behind Ron Dayne.
“It’s by week and what we feel like we have to accomplish,” Coughlin said. “As I’ve said many times before, we are going to need everybody. How that flows during the course of the week and how we prepare strategically and how we use them is based on our plan. I don’t look at it that way.”