EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- With his running game stuck in neutral, Giants coach Tom Coughlin challenged his offensive line to make a name for itself starting Sunday against Carolina.
Coughlin admits it's hard for a line to establish an identity when it is struggling.
"That would be one of those [situations where] you go anonymous until you make a statement," said Coughlin, whose offensive line in the past had a reputation for being gritty and scrappy. "We need a statement."
The Giants (0-2) rank last in the NFL in rushing with just 73 yards in two games. According to Elias Sports Bureau, that total is the lowest amount of rushing yards the Giants have had in the first two games of a season.
The Giants ran for only 23 yards on 19 carries -- the franchise's lowest total in 24 years -- as they fell behind in the second half of a 41-23 loss to the Broncos last Sunday.
Starting running back David Wilson, who got benched in the opener against Dallas after fumbling twice, has seen a total of 14 carries for 36 yards. He hasn't been able to break off one of his explosive runs, and the Giants also have been searching for a replacement for injured veteran backup Andre Brown. They signed Brandon Jacobs last week and have used Da'Rel Scott on passing downs.
The offensive line has been in flux as well, with tackle David Diehl out since undergoing thumb surgery in camp. Center David Baas just returned from an MCL injury he suffered in the preseason; his first game back was against Denver.
"I think I see us getting a little bit better each week," Coughlin said. "Is that fast enough? Of course not, but I do see progress. The more the communication goes, the better off we are.
"You say [it is a] veteran [line], but take a look at the snaps and the amount of practice time that David Baas has had, for example. That's almost like moving a new guy in until he gets to where he feels good about it."
The Giants need a more balanced offense. Eli Manning has thrown for 812 yards combined, but also a league-high seven interceptions.
Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, though, said he is not concerned with how many carries Wilson will get. He just wants to see positive gains in the ground game.
"We're definitely going to make an effort to run," Gilbride said. "We're definitely going to do whatever we can to be as balanced as we can, but most importantly of all, we'll try to win the game."
Asked later about Wilson's touches, Gilbride added: "The only thing I care about is are we moving the ball? If he's running and making yardage, then he'll get it. If he's not, then somebody else will get a chance to carry it or we'll be throwing it."