EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — While Giants fans are flipping over their latest game-breaker, David Wilson's teammates and coaches are flipping out over his end zone celebrations.

The first thing they want to see is the rookie carrying the ball to the end zone the way he did three times in last Sunday's victory over New Orleans.

The last thing they want to see is the back flip he uses to punctuate those touchdowns.

"I told him to stop doing them," defensive captain Justin Tuck said, shaking his head and chuckling when told Wilson claims to have been mastering the flips since he was 3 years old. "Everyone knows how athletic he is, but the last thing we need is him having some injury by showing off to the crowd.

"Let's just keep him upright and running and leave the backflips for YouTube. They're already on YouTube. If people want to see them, they can go to YouTube and see them."

They can also go there to see the highlights that made Wilson the NFL Player of the Week. And no one has to search very hard for the video because before his breakthrough against the Saints, Wilson barely was getting onto the field.

Wilson gained a team-record 327 yards, with 227 coming on kickoff returns. He ran one back 97 yards immediately after New York fell behind 7-0.

He also broke a 52-yard run and scored on a 6-yarder. After each came the acrobatics.

"I just cringe and hope he lands safely, because you just never know what can happen," said receiver Victor Cruz, whose salsa dance is a much more tame end zone celebration — if just as choreographed. "But he's a very athletic guy, as you can see, and for him to do that each and every time. ... One time, he did it with the ball in his hands, so it was definitely impressive."

The touchdowns were not just impressive, but thrilling for coach Tom Coughlin. Afterward?

"Next question," Coughlin said when asked about the back flips. "You're not going to get me on that one."

Wilson, a first-round pick out of Virginia Tech, has been envisioned by the Giants as a difference maker with his speed, agility and daring. What they didn't foresee was his bobbles.

His preseason and early season fumbles turned him into an afterthought.

But he impressed everyone with the Giants in the way he continued to practice, study, lift and wait his turn.

"The whole time, I've been preparing and working hard so when my number is called I'll be ready," Wilson said. "That happened last game and I think I handled it pretty well. I'm going to keep working hard and moving forward and getting better because the season is narrowing down. I want to definitely be able to continue to contribute."

That would seem a certainty on special teams, where he had come within a step or a missed block of breaking a return several times before demolishing the Saints. And with tailback Ahmad Bradshaw ruled out with a knee injury, Wilson will start behind Eli Manning in New York's backfield this Sunday in Atlanta.

Coughlin's confidence level in Wilson has risen steadily, and the rookie has gone from third-stringer behind Bradshaw and Andre Brown to a key component in the Giants' chase for another Super Bowl berth.

"He's always wanted to play. He's always wanted the ball," Coughlin said. "He's always wanted to be a factor, whether it be offense or special teams. He's accepted any role. He was on our punt block team.

"He's accepted any and every role that we've given him. He's always come to practice or to the meetings with an interest in trying to learn everything as fast as he possibly could. Someone asked me that the other night about his attitude and his attitude has never changed. It's always been an aggressive, positive attitude and his position has always been 'I can do more. I want to help more. What can I do?' And it's been a question of how rapidly we could assimilate all of that into the game."

Consider Wilson assimilated.

But with a chance to start in the backfield, and with two journeyman behind him if Bradshaw can't go, there's a chance Wilson won't be hustling back to handle kickoff returns.

He frowns at the prospect. After all, it's where he first made headlines in the NFL.

"I definitely want to do kick returns," he said, a gleam in his eyes. "That has always been the part of the game I favor the most and enjoy most. It's no heavy assignment. It's just beating guys down the field."

And he if he beats opponents down the field at the Georgia Dome, will Wilson be going head over heels?

Sure sounds like it.

"It's easy," he said. "Almost like running for me to jump and turn backward. I've been doing it for a while, so I think people can relax a little bit.

"It seems it makes people nervous, then they get excited. Anytime I am in the end zone, my teammates are definitely excited about it. Anytime I can make a big play, I can see on the sideline how they explode."


Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL