A look back: Coughlin 'O.K.' with Diehl

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Tom Coughlin made a lineup change to his offensive line by starting David Diehl back in his spot at right tackle and replacing Sean Locklear.

After losing 24-20 to the Steelers, Coughlin was asked how he thought Diehl looked in his first start since Week 2 when he injured his MCL.

"He did O.K.," Coughlin said. "He had the one false start that hurt."

The offensive line surrendered two sacks against Pittsburgh. Eli Manning had been sacked just six times entering the game. The Giants also were only able to rush for 68 yards on 22 carries in the game.

Coughlin was asked if the offensive line did not play as well as it had been in previous weeks.

"I don’t know," Coughlin said. "The first-half run game was pretty good. I think the protection was O.K. I didn’t see anything really dramatically wrong with that and there was some pressure here or there, but by and large it wasn’t a huge factor."

Will back: Safety Will Hill was back in the team facility after serving a four-game suspension for taking Adderall. The Giants have until Monday to make a roster move if they decide to keep Hill on the active roster. If they want to use him on Sunday, they have to make a move by Saturday afternoon.

"We’ll see," Coughlin said.

'Soft' middle: Coughlin didn't mince words when he talked about the middle of his defense after seeing Isaac Redman rush for 147 yards and one touchdown and the Steelers receivers run unchecked across the middle at times.

"It was soft, no question," the coach said. "It was soft early. We came back and played a little bit better and then they had their breakout there at the end of the game, but that was also a third down and 9 that was converted. So we got mushed a little bit up front. Their big bodies knocked us back and time-to-time we got a little bit better. We didn’t tackle well. We missed 12 tackles in the game."

Communication breakdown: Manning has one touchdown pass in his last three games and the terrific chemistry he had with Victor Cruz has waned a bit.

"Hopefully, we’ll get back on the same page," Coughlin said. "There was one [play], right at the end of the game yesterday. It looked like they weren’t on the same page. That’s all got to get ironed out. There’s no way you can have a lack of communication and be effective in the passing game."

"That word is covering a lot of sins now when you say communication," Coughlin added. "You’re also talking about execution and efficiency and beating the guy who’s defending you. We’re using that word to cover a multitude of sins here. It doesn’t describe adequately every bit of the problem and I probably can’t explain every bit of the problems either."

Start up Nicks: Coughlin did say that the Giants have to get Hakeem Nicks going.

"Well, I certainly hope so," he said when asked if Nicks is healthy and capable of playing a bigger role. "That’s what we depend on. We haven’t seen that and it hasn’t happened in the last couple of weeks. That’s another area that we have to get going.

More Rueben: Over the last two games, the Giants have been sprinkling in Rueben Randle into the mix. He played nine snaps against Dallas and came up with two catches for 68 yards. Against Pittsburgh, Randle played seven snaps and was targeted three times but had no receptions.

"Based on the week before, we felt like he could contribute more," Coughlin said. "And we still do. He’s got to make the plays when he’s put in position to do so."

Coughlin said there has been no issue with Randle's work ethic or effort -- something that became a topic earlier in the season.

"I think he did [give effort]," Coughlin said. "I think, technically, he was wrong on a couple of occasions. I didn’t see any reason to think that he didn’t compete."

Domenik Hixon remains the third receiver as he seen 22 and 18 snaps the last two games.