Guard Justin Pugh
June 1, 2016
Q: So are you officially a guard for this season?
A: Yeah, I have been a guard all throughout OTAs so it has been good. I am loving that I am able to stay there, really feel at home and get all the reps there. Sometimes when you go out to different positions you learn different nuances so I am really focusing on getting this left guard down and getting the camaraderie going with these guys up front.
Q: What have your first impressions been of the new defensive line?
A: Unbelievable talent. All across the board, you look at our defensive line and you are definitely impressed and getting to go against them everyday is going to make us so much better. It is going to help every guy on this offense. I am excited. I am excited for what they are going to bring to the table. They are going to make us better, we are going to make them better and we are going to battle when we get the pads on. Right now it is tough because you are trying to run block without pads and all those different things, so we are getting there though. It is good work, working on the fundamentals, working on the individual technique and just getting the assignments down and making sure we are on point.
Q: What kind of growth have you seen from Ereck [Flowers] and Bobby [Hart]?
A: They have done a great job. Ereck came back with a great mentality, he was ready to work. I think last year as a rookie, it was such a long season for those guys, they never really get a break so for him to get away and refocus and regroup and get back here, the sky is the limit for him. I can just see it already, the mentality he has and he wants to be great.
Q: With Coach Solari coming in, what have the differences been for the group and for you individually?
A: Under Flats we were working hard, we were working every single period, same mentality with Coach Solari. He is unbelievable. He knows this offense inside and out. He has been in this offense for five years. He was in there with San Fran when they ran it, with Green Bay, so he knows it in and out more than any of us, just because he has been in it so long. We are using a lot of the film he has from that San Francisco O-line when they went to those NFC Championship games and getting to watch those teams has been really good for us. He is really critical of technique, making sure you are always on point. Even if you get the block done, there is still always something you can do to be a little bit better because we are striving to be great.
Q: Is continuity on the line important?
A: It is huge. You need all five guys firing on all cylinders because if you keep replacing guys, keep interchanging guys, it is hard to get that gel, that feel for the guys next to you and that is the most important thing about offensive line play, is that you really trust that guy next to you and I think that is what we are really getting this year.
Q: Do you feel really comfortable at the left guard position?
A: I feel great there. I feel like last year I was really learning how things were going and then at the beginning of the season I wasnít sure if I was going to be at left guard, right guard, left tackle, right tackle, I didnít know if they were going to put me in at quarterback for one play but no, it was good. I enjoy being that versatile player that can play wherever they need me to, but to go into the season knowing that left guard is my position and I can really focus on that, I donít have to slide over to left tackle for half the reps, is huge for me and I think it is going to be huge for my development and I think it is going to be great. I think it is good for everybody up front to know where they are at and have that black and white definition.
Q: What kind of step forward have you seen from John Jerry?
A: John Jerry has to be one of the most underrated guards in the NFL. If you look at the way he plays and the way he carries himself, literally every game he stepped out there and played, literally with the drop of a hat and then now to step into that starting role midway through the season and he played very, very well throughout the rest of the season, so he is a guy that I look up to. When he is out there doing the things, he is all business. He comes out here, he doesnít say anything, he isnít griping about not being the starter going into last season. I think that what he brings to the table is invaluable and I think a lot of people should recognize the value that he brings to the team and how good he is at right guard.
Q: What about Marshall Newhouse? Everyone always says that the Giants need a new right tackle.
A: If you ask Coach Solari, every day we go into film and put on film, Marshall is doing things and he is like, ďGreat job, Marshall, that is excellent.Ē Marshall is a great player and he has been in this system, he knows how to play in this system. I think that sometimes he was dealing with a little bit of injury here and there and guys go through that. If you have a bad game, like I have had bad games in my career, sometimes that snowballs on you but I am very, very confident in Marshall as our right tackle. He is a hell of a player. Everyone tries to get on the right side of the line but I have no worries whatsoever. I know what those guys bring to the table. They are vets, they know how to play this game, they know how to win and they have both won in the NFL so I am excited for them to go out there and prove to everyone how good they are.