ALBANY, N.Y. — D.J. Ware has no intention of making things easy for New York Giants first-round draft pick David Wilson.
After five seasons of being mostly the third running back on the depth chart, Ware is ready to roll. He has put in the hours and the work and, with Brandon Jacobs playing in San Francisco, the job of sharing the running back job with Ahmad Bradshaw should be his.
“I came in with the mind frame that it was going to be my year, until they prove different, it’s going to be in my head,” Ware said Sunday as the Giants (No. 3 in the AP Pro32) kicked off their final week of training camp at the University at Albany. “I worked hard this offseason and I am going to continue working. I just need a shot to be the best player I can be.”
Wilson is in the way, though, and Ware knows it.
The Super Bowl champions didn’t use their top pick in the draft to watch him stand on the sideline. Wilson also has shown amazing moves and speed in the opening weeks of training camp.
Ware, however, was just as impressive in the Giants 32-31 preseason loss to Jacksonville on Friday. The six-year veteran rushed for 30 yards on five carries, including a 2-yard TD run.
The effort seemed to remind everyone that Ware is not going to go away quietly.
When Wilson was drafted, it was assumed he would automatically become Bradshaw’s backup, and that assumption gained even more popularity when the Virginia Tech product showed some eye-opening skills in the minicamp.
Ware, though, is dependable, and also comes off a year when he was the third-down back most of the season, catching 27 passes for 170 yards.
“I just need to make sure I go out there and keep whatever Ahmad has going, going, or if he is not doing too good to give us a spark,” Ware said “I just want to go out there and run hard. That’s my main objective now. I want to stay positive with my yardage and yards per carry.”
Quarterback Eli Manning said Ware is not only good on third down, he also is a good blocker.
“We feel he’s our best route runner out of the backfield and catches the ball well,” Manning said. “Hopefully, that’s a role where you can get catches to him (on) third-and-short or third-and-4 or 5, or you can get the ball out of the backfield, have him run a route and get first downs for you. I think that’s something that he’s worked hard on and understands our concepts and how to get open versus different techniques.”
Wilson also can catch the ball, but he has to prove to the Giants he can pick up blitzes. The rookie also didn’t please coach Tom Coughlin late in Friday’s game when he failed to run out of bounds after making a catch in the closing minutes with New York behind.
Wilson will get more chances, of course.
“They are going to have to get him in the game some time,” Ware said, adding his job is to impress the coaches and to remain positive so he stays in the mix.
So far, he has not had many chances. In 45 games, he has carried 81 times for 324 yards and one touchdown.
“I have had guys who have been in front of me longer than me,” Ware said. “It’s kind of one of those things where you have to wait your turn. I feel like I have waited my turn and my turn is here. But at the same time, you have a first-round draft pick. You just have to stay positive, in your mind and on the field, and hopefully, I can get that done.”