Giants running back Rodney Hampton stopped by to watch his old team practice last week and was paying particular attention to David Wilson. The organization’s lineage of running backs is a proud one stemming from Frank Gifford to Joe Morris Ottis Anderson Hampton Tiki Barber Ahmad Bradshaw and now Wilson.

Before any of them ahead of Wilson became complete they first had to learn how to block. It’s why Hampton wasn’t as interested in watching Wilson run the ball as he was to chart his progress picking up a blitzing defender.

“The blitz pick-up you’ve got to do that to play here” Hampton said. “It’s a part of every practice. I’m sure that’s what [Wilson] is thinking about. He’s not worried about catching the ball or running with it. He’s thinking about the blitz pick-up period and getting it right.”

Wilson needs to get it right Sunday night when the Giants open their season against the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. In his second season Wilson figures to be a prominent part of the Giants offense. Gifted with ridiculous speed the 2012 first-round pick from Virginia Tech figures to get more touches with Andre Brown out with a fractured leg. But if the Giants are to trust Wilson in passing situations he will have to prove he can hold up against the league’s best pass rushers including Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware.

“He’s getting better” coach Tom Coughlin said. “He’s done a nice job of recognition. He’s done a good job of chipping and helping in pass protection. He’s got to continue to do that.”

Wilson said he understands the challenge and worked all preseason to improve his blocking skills.
“It’s something you have to do on this level” he said. “I want to be effective in all areas of the game at my position. It’s definitely an aspect I’ve focused on.”

The Giants have won all four games played at what was formerly known as Cowboys Stadium. In those games the Dallas defense managed just two sacks. New defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin doesn’t have a reputation for exotic blitzes. But he is wise enough to know Dallas won’t win without putting pressure on Giants quarterback Eli Manning. That could mean more blitzing than expected from what figures to be an aggressive Cowboys defense.