Coughlin report: Physical defensive identity

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Tom Coughlin wants a return to the old smashmouth Giants defense.

"Physical, New York Giant defense -- tough, physical and hard-nosed defense," Coughlin responded when asked what identity he wants to see his defense establish this season. "We're not that far removed from that and hopefully we'll get right back to it."

The Giants' defense finished 31st in total defense last year and struggled against the run. Coughlin was not pleased to see his defense surrender a combined 67 points in back-to-back losses at Atlanta and Baltimore with a playoff spot on the line.

The Giants made it a major priority in the offseason to fortify the defensive line, as GM Jerry Reese added Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson while drafting Johnathan Hankins and re-signing Shaun Rogers at defensive tackle. The Giants hope proud veterans like Justin Tuck and Corey Webster have bounce-back seasons as well.

"You have to get an identity," Coughlin said. "You have to represent something. You have to be there week in and week out. You have to have that kind of consistency and you have to control the line of scrimmage. You have to stop the run first before you can rush the pass, and we're capable of both. But we're certainly going to get tested in both areas."

Timeshare: Coughlin was asked if David Wilson and Andre Brown will share carries in the backfield this season. The expectation is Coughlin will start Wilson but split carries and use Brown in goal-line packages as well.

If Coughlin has his way, a third back will emerge.

"We'll see," Coughlin said of sharing carries. "Sometimes we need three. We've had three around here before."

Randle raves: Coughlin continues to like what he has seen from second-year wideout Rueben Randle.

"He's worthy of [being picked in the second round last year] and his spring was better," Coughlin said. "And then he came back lighter and he looks good. He seems to be more serious, more intent. He had a lot to learn in that first year and it looks like some of the messages are getting through."