Justin Tuck has a vision of what he wants the Giants defense to be and that image does not include again being a pop gun in the shadow of Eli Manning’s high-octane offensive attack.

“I hope the defense can carry this team,’’ Tuck said yesterday at the Big Daddy Celebrity Golf Classic at Oheka Castle in Huntington, L.I. “We have to think like we’re going to carry the team and that might be something we’ve lacked, because our offense is so good, thinking we can kind of give up this and that.

“That has to kind of get away from us this year and approach the game in a way that those ’80s teams did with LT [Lawrence Taylor] and Harry [Carson] and all those guys. They went into the game trying to kill the offense and not give ’em anything. We have to get back to that on defense.’’

For the Giants to take a page from the past and return to defensive dominance, Tuck is going to have to rekindle his past excellence. Tuck is entering his ninth season with the Giants and, for the first time in his career, is entering a season in the final year of his contract. There are clearly high stakes ahead for Tuck, yet he sounds as if he’s feeling no pressure.

“I think for whatever reason I feel more alive in a football sense than I have in a long time,’’ he said. “That’s a huge motivation for me this year.’’

Asked what he meant by feeling “more alive in a football sense,’’ Tuck explained: “It just means I’m in a great place. Football is a draining sport sometimes and being in New York City and trying to do as much as I do off the football field, it kind of drains you a little bit. You start to look at things for granted. Maybe I did.

“My focus is football, I’m trying my best to have it family and football, that’s it. You won’t see me out as much as I’ve been in previous years, you won’t see me doing a lot of stuff I’ve done. I’ve kind of dedicated myself to doing a lot of it this offseason. When football comes, that’s where I’m at.’’

Tuck, 30, is coming off back-to-back subpar seasons. His 2011 output (five sacks in 12 games) was compromised by a nagging shoulder problem. He played in 15 games this past season, yet managed only four sacks. He’ll make $4.5 million this season, the final year of a five-year, $30 million contract extension he signed in January 2008.