New York Giants defensive tackle Markus Kuhn looks on from...

New York Giants defensive tackle Markus Kuhn looks on from the field during the second day of minicamp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Markus Kuhn won.

As the defensive team captain in last week's preseason opener against the Bengals, he was given the privilege of calling the coin toss. He picked heads, and sure enough that's what came up.

"I was really excited and I didn't expect it," Kuhn said of the responsibility. "Coach Coughlin just called out three players who would be the captain and I was very happy to be one of them. It's just a sign that I'm working hard and doing the right thing. It's definitely an honor."

Of course the biggest sign of that wasn't the captaincy. It was the start. Kuhn has been playing defensive tackle with the first group for most of the summer and the Giants are hoping that he will be a big - at 320 pounds, really big - part of an improved run defense.

"So far so good," Kuhn said. "There are obviously things you have to improve on every day, but I'm pretty happy how things are going so far."

Kuhn bulked up this offseason and reported over 20 pounds heavier than he was a year ago.

"The big guys, they set the tone,'' Kuhn said. "We have to push back the offensive line, we have to set the new line of scrimmage. Obviously being stronger and being bigger will help with that.''

But he also said he has improved his technique.

"It's more about the leverage and using my strength right," he said. "I was always a pretty strong guy, but now, seeing different blocks and playing into them right, you can actually use your strength instead of just being a strong guy on the field."

Kuhn figures to get plenty of snaps on Saturday against the Jaguars. He'll probably start, although when pass-rushers are needed Cullen Jenkins often steps in to replace either Kuhn or Johnathan Hankins. It will be another chance to prove his case as a starter and an NFL player on a roster that will have to trim some usable talent at the tackle position when the 53-man cuts are made.

One thing Kuhn doesn't expect to do on Saturday, though, is be captain again. That will likely go to another player. The last time he was a captain, he said, was when he was playing football at home in Germany. This was his first opportunity to do so in the United States.

Does that make him Captain America? Kuhn laughed at his own quip on that title.

The Giants don't need a superhero. They just need to stop the run.

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