Justin Pugh: O-line Still Heading in the Right Direction

New York Giants left guard Justin Pugh has met the media three times since the start of training camp.

But if you’re looking for Pugh to change his narrative about the state of the starting offensive line, well, you’re going to be disappointed.

“I’m excited about the direction that we’re headed in,” Pugh said Thursday. “Just watching the game film, we’re doing some good things. It has to transition to the games, though. I’m excited about going out there this week and getting some game action.”

Last week in the preseason opener against Pittsburgh, the starting five offensive linemen—Pugh, left tackle Ereck Flowers, center Weston Richburg, right guard John Jerry and right tackle Bobby Hart, played a handful of snaps in the first quarter, with Josh Johnson lining up at quarterback for them.

Johnson ended up being sacked three times. However, an argument could be made that only one of those sacks was the fault of the offensive line, that being the one where the interior allowed pressure up the middle forcing Johnson to step into a sack.

Head coach Ben McAdoo, when asked what he saw from that offensive line, said, “I see a group that is growing together.”

McAdoo has maintained that not all the sacks allowed last week were the fault of the offensive line. Having watched the film, Pugh agrees.

“If you’re going to look at the sacks, you’re going to blame the offensive line,” Pugh said. “If we had zero (sacks), but Eli Manning got hit a bunch of times, you’ll be like, ‘Oh you didn’t give up any sacks, great job!’ But if the quarterback still gets hit, we’re not doing our job. That can be a misleading statistic to look at.

“You have to get in there and look at the film to see how things went down and know who’s responsible for what to really be able to get a good understanding of it.”

Pugh, like his fellow line mates who have met the media, isn’t anywhere near being ready to declare the offensive line’s work as being complete.  He has maintained each time he has met the media that there is still room to grow, but has also added that the growth is indeed there.

“We did some good things,” Pugh said, adding, “You learn from some things that happened. Obviously, we got down on the score, (but) the offensive line is headed in the right direction.”

With three more games to go—the starters figure to play at least a half Monday night against Cleveland, Pugh is confident that more progress will be made.

“We want to go out there and make sure we’re doing the things to keep ascending, building things the right way,” he said.