When the Giants set their targets on Syracuse OL Justin Pugh earlier this year, they envisioned him being the anchor of their offensive line for the foreseeable future. They loved his versatility, intelligence and work ethic and didn’t care that his arms were said to be “too short.” He was their man.
“In the group of players that we really liked that we hoped would be available to us at 19, we had this young man right at the top – Justin was the guy on the board who was on top. So we are real happy to get him,” said head coach Tom Coughlin after the draft.
And right now, they are really happy to have him. With all the injuries across the offensive line these days, the Giants aren’t going to have to wait long to find out if they were right about Pugh.
The rookie was be named as the team’s RT for this week’s game vs the Jets. He replaces David Diehl, who is in the last year of his contract and is currently unavailable for the next six weeks due to surgery on his thumb.
Pugh credits Diehl with assisting him in transitioning to the pro game…
“He’s helped me with all of the ins and outs of what’s going on. Everything he gives me I just take it and try to run with it. I watch how he practices and how he handles himself on and off the field and he’s a true professional.”
Q: Does that at all surprise you? Because a veteran could say, “hey, this kid’s out for my job, why help him?”
A: I just think it’s his personality and the way this team is. All these guys just want to win, so whatever we’re going to do to help the team win, we’ve got to be able to step up, play that role and execute.
Q: What was your reaction yesterday when you got the news that you were going to be lining up with the first team?
A: I was excited. It’s something, you come here, I played at Syracuse, and to be able to come out here and play with the first team really has that heightened, you have to be on your Ps and Qs and make sure you’re doing the right thing. Obviously, to go out there and get those reps yesterday was great for me. Now I’m just making sure I go out there and get better today.
Q: Were you surprised, shocked, did you jump up and down?
A: No, I didn’t jump up and down but I was pretty excited when I heard the news. You just have to go out there and execute. I got some texts from friends and family congratulating me, as soon as I got out of meetings everyone else had already known I was in, they probably knew before I even knew. It’s something that you just kind of take it and you run with it. It’s a great opportunity for me to get some experience.
Q: How ready can you be? You haven’t had a lot of time here and you missed a couple of weeks with the concussion. How ready can you be to step into the starting lineup?
A: I’m ready. Coach Flats has definitely made sure I’m covering all the bases and going over game film. This week, you’ve got to make sure you go over the extra things that the Jets bring to the table. It’s exciting that I get to go out there, get to play and I know getting out there for the game will give me some valuable experience that will be something great, even coming back from that concussion.
Q: Can you talk about the mentoring you’ve been getting from Chris Snee?
A: Yeah, it’s been great. I knew coming into this situation that I had those guys ahead of me in the room and that they’ve been around for a while and they know what it takes to be successful at this level. Having him out there next to me and being able to go over things, double check, it can’t hurt to ask somebody at the line, to be able to run things by him, so it’s been great for me and I think it’s going to mean a lot for me going down the road.