Giants try to ignite 'terrible' running game

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –- When Tom Coughlin mentioned how many yards the New York Giants rushed for to the team on Monday, Brandon Jacobs couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

The Giants, a team that prides itself on being balanced and a franchise known for smashmouth football in the past, rushed for just 23 yards on 19 carries last Sunday -- the franchise’s lowest total in 24 years.

“That was absolutely terrible, absurd that it was that way,” Jacobs said. “I don’t think we have rushed for less yards since I have been around. It absolutely has to get better and it starts in practice.”

Through two games, the Giants rank last in rushing with a total of 73 yards (36.5 per game). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that total is the lowest amount of rushing yards the Giants have ever had in the first two games of a season.

Coughlin says it is imperative that the Giants return to being a balanced team instead of relying on the pass. Without a running game, Eli Manning has passed for 812 yards but has also thrown seven interceptions.

The head coach wants his team to establish a more physical attitude and identity on Sunday against Carolina.

“It’s a mentality, but it’s also a physicality,” Coughlin said of jumpstarting the running game. “And you have to communicate well, you have to recognize in split seconds, you have to be physical enough to reject the fronts and the linebackers as they attack the line of scrimmage.

“You have to knock a hole in the defensive front. You have to break an arm tackle, which very few have. You’ve got to block down field. Your receivers have got to get their faces in front of somebody down field, push toward the opponent’s goal line. You have a lot of things you have to do very, very well.”

And the Giants might want to give their 2012 first round pick a few more carries. David Wilson only has 14 carries for a total of 36 yards thus far. After losing two fumbles, he was benched in the season opener against Dallas and saw just seven carries against Denver with Jacobs and Da'Rel Scott all rotating.

Wilson made a concerted effort to run each time with both arms protecting the football. Still, he says his confidence has not been shaken and that his running style has not been affected by the added emphasis on protecting the football.

“Nah, not at all,” the second-year player answered when asked about his confidence being rattled. “(The running style also remains) the same. It didn’t change at all.”

Wilson and several of his teammates believe the Giants were close to breaking a few long runs against Denver.

“I feel like we’ve just been one block away or six of the guys are doing a great job and one guy is maybe missing,” Manning said. “We’re very close to getting that back on the roll and obviously you’re playing against good defenses. I think we are close on a lot of them and we’ll get that going.”

Jacobs says the team took the first step toward fixing the running game with a physical practice on Wednesday.

“We have a good line, no question about it,” Jacobs said. “We have some talented guys up there, young guys up there. We have good backs, we have a mastermind behind it all. We have to put forth our best foot and run with it.

“It’s not going to be easy but we can’t lie down and run from the challenge. We have to answer the challenge and meet it halfway.”