PHOENIX - Tom Coughlin gave some hints about how he plans to deploy his three running backs this season after acquiring Shane Vereen as a free agent. Basically, it'll be what the Patriots did.

"The way that he was used was, as you well know, a special situation guy and a lot of times if the plan was that they didn't anticipate a lot of success running the ball, he was in there a lot," the Giants' coach said at the NFC coaches breakfast on Wednesday morning. "He did run the ball from the three-wide sets. Then there would be games where maybe they felt they could control the ball and he didn't play much. That's just the way it was."

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In other words, the Giants won't have to be pigeonholed into being a running team as they have in the past. With Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams also available, they still will be able to move the ball on the ground when they feel they have an advantage there. But with Vereen now in the mix, that presents more options.

Coughlin said he and offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo are excited about devising ways to use Vereen as a passing target out of the backfield.

"You know what he can do and it's something that, from an attack standpoint, we've had some success with but not to the extent that he has," Coughlin said. "As you look at Vereen, a lot of the [Tom] Brady hookups with Vereen, the ball was almost automatically going to him. There would be certain [situations], first down if it was zone coverage, they were dropping the ball off and he would scoot. We know that. Will we open it up to other parts of it? Well, you'd like to make sure that he does very well at that spot [first]."

Together with the other passing targets the Giants have -- Coughlin mentioned Larry Donnell, Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle -- that could potentially give the Giants five viable play-making targets for Eli Manning..

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"What I always wanted to do was have some balance," Coughlin said about his desire to run the ball, "but those are pretty good weapons."