It's not just the playbook that participants in this week's Giants rookie minicamp are studying. It's the history book, too.

In an effort to enlighten his players to (and perhaps inspire them with) the heralded past of the Giants and their fearsome defenses of yore, coach Tom Coughlin has been spending time digging through the video vault to put together presentations of some of the more ferocious players who played for the franchise.

Names such as Lawrence Taylor, Carl Banks, Harry Carson, Sam Huff and Andy Robustelli (who happens to be the grandfather of one of the tryout wide receivers at this camp, Andrew Robustelli from Jacksonville University).

It's not just the rookies who are getting the blast from the past.

"We've been doing that since we gathered back with our varsity," Coughlin said of the beginning of the offseason program that started in mid-April. "We went to great pains to do some explaining again [to the rookies on Thursday] night, had a little movie for them."

This is normally a time when teams start to look ahead. Their draft picks have arrived. Their roster is taking shape. The calendar for the upcoming season is set.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

So why are the Giants looking in the opposite direction?

"The tradition, the passion, the Giant tradition," Coughlin said. "The great defenses that have been played here in the past and the idea that we've got to get back to that."