Tom Coughlin talks to Brandon Jacobs

New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin met with running back Brandon Jacobs on Friday to discuss his role.

One day after Jacobs told ESPNNewYork.com that "it's almost hard to stay positive" in his current situation with a reduced role behind Ahmad Bradshaw, Coughlin said he was surprised by the running back's comments.

"I was surprised to see that today and I'm not really going to comment on that," Coughlin said. "We have always been a multiple running back situation. Nothing has changed. The big thing that is important is to realize Brandon is as healthy as he has ever been."

Coughlin wanted to clear the air with Jacobs after seeing the former starter say that the team has not told him anything about its plans for him in the future.

"I'm not sure of all of that," Coughlin said on his conference call with reporters. "We did have a conversation today and he is well aware of where we are and what we are doing. He is very, very confident in his relationship with [running backs coach] Jerald Ingram. He and Jerald, I believe, are on the same page and I don't believe there is an issue there."

Ingram told reporters early in training camp that the Giants wanted to use multiple running backs much in the same way that New Orleans did last season with Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush and Mike Bell.

The Giants have not come out and officially named Bradshaw the starter, but he has started three of the four preseason games. The only one he did not start was against Pittsburgh after he was disciplined for arriving to a meeting late.

Jacobs rushed for 835 yards last season and was banged up with a knee injury. Bradshaw ran for 778 yards on two bad feet and an injured ankle. Both running backs underwent surgery in the offseason -- Jacobs on his knee and Bradshaw on both feet and ankle -- and are back healthy now.

But Bradshaw largely received the first carry in practices during training camp and Jacobs hasn't been used that much throughout the preseason. Both look healthy and have run with burst, but Bradshaw is the more explosive running back of the pair.

Coughlin intimated that part of the reason why Jacobs hasn't been used a ton in camp was to keep the 6-foot-4 bruiser healthy for the season. Jacobs was slated to get carries in the preseason finale against New England on Thursday but ended up with just a catch. The only handoff he took was a botched flea flicker.

"The idea of having all these guys healthy has always been our first and foremost [priority]," Coughlin said.

With Bradshaw as the starter, the plan appears to be to have Jacobs come in and provide a change of pace by battering the defense with his physical style. But Bradshaw will get more carries than Jacobs judging by the Giants' actions in the preseason.

Andre Brown and D.J. Ware figure to get limited carries as the third-down back as well.

A reduction in carries likely is something difficult for the proud Jacobs to swallow.

"We are looking forward to the opportunity to play with our multiple running game and with our ability to use our power back," Coughlin said. "Along with the combination of Ahmad and with Ware, we are looking forward to that. At this point in time, I do feel good about our ability to use multiple people at that spot. As you well know, over 16 games, you are going to need that."

Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com.