G Justin Pugh
August 29, 2016
Q: How was it getting back out there?
A: It was good to get back out there. It was fun. It obviously wasn't full pads, so you have to get to that tomorrow and go from there. So it was good to get back out there, and be out there with my teammates. Obviously, being out for two weeks has been a little rough.
Q: Were they cautious with you because they need you for the season? Do you think you will see the field on Thursday night?
A: I would assume so. I would think I would get a drive or two, but obviously we haven't talked about that. I am just getting ready to go and play and be 100% healthy.
Q: If it was a regular season game this past week, do you think you would have been able to play?
A: Yeah, I thought I would have been able to play in Buffalo, but it was still a little sore, so just making sure I am not regressing, getting better, and that is definitely a major part of it.
Q: Is there any concern about lingering stuff going into the season?
A: Yeah, you definitely want to make sure that you are taking care of yourself. It is a long year and I have found that out these past three seasons. It is definitely a long season and taking care of those things, so it doesn't become a lingering thing throughout the year, to make sure you nip it in the bud now and handle it.
Q: What was your impression of the blocking the other night?
A: Actually, we watched the film and we were real close on a lot of things and obviously, you don't see that. You see that we didn't run the ball very well, but we were close on a lot of things. Obviously, getting out there and communicating and having the five guys that have been out there would be great, and obviously I feel responsible because I wasn't out there to help them out, so that is definitely another reason why I was excited to get back out there today.
Q: How much does game planning make a different for an offensive line?
A: It is huge. We are running the looks. Sometimes you get up there and you get in the box, and they have a safety in the box. Normally, we get out of it. Preseason you want to see what you are made of. You want to run the ball and see what you can do against someone down in the box, working on your four-minute offense, because obviously the starters aren't going to be out at the end of the game at four minutes. So things like that. You aren't putting as big of an emphasis on getting some of your marquee plays called on games that are in the preseason, so there is definitely more that is going to go into it, and obviously there is a lot more pressure when you are in a regular season game to perform and to do those things. So, guys aren't taking as much risk on defense, shooting gaps that they weren't responsible for, so watching the film I know we are a lot closer than we look. We just have to go out there, keep getting better and keep working at it.
Q: A lot of teams try to protect the starters in the final preseason game. Do you feel that you guys need the work?
A: We have played in the fourth preseason game every year I have been here, so I am used to it.
Q: I assume that when you say you were close on a lot of plays you are referring to running the ball?
Q: The pass protection at times also seemed shaky. Eli got hit a couple of times.
A: Definitely and that is something that you have to get better at. You have to sit back and make sure you are protecting the quarterback. The number one thing we have to do is keep 10 upright, we know it is going to make him feel good. It is something that we have to continue to get better at, and obviously not being on the field it is definitely something that --- even more of a reason, why I want to get back out there and be a part of helping this team.
Q: You know when this team brought all five starters back from last year, there had been some criticism and the criticism certainly hasn't quieted. Why should people be optimistic?
A: Ever since I have been here our preseasons haven't been all that spectacular, but you look at what we were able to do last year and I am confident in the group of guys that we have. That is something that I am going to keep reiterating. I know the type of character guys that we have in this room and they are not going to stop working and trying to fix this thing. Thatís all you can ask. You can ask for guys to come out here and work their asses off. Make sure theyíre correcting their mistakes and that those mistakes donít happen again.
Q: Why do you think that this preseason the offense hasnít run up and down the field a lot?
A: I think some games you have some key guys that arenít out there. I know the first game I played, Eli didnít play in. You donít have all your pieces out there. Like I said, when you keep things basic and vanilla, theyíre running basic looks on defense. Youíre looking to get some schemes, seeing what guys are bringing to the table. Sometimes youíre running into looks that, in the regular season, youíre checking out of or going the other way with whatever the case may be. To overreact in the preseason is something that I would not urge you guys or the fan base to do. Obviously, you want to see successful runs, you want to see explosive plays and thatís something that we have to get better at as well. Iím not going to sugar coat it and say everything has been perfect because it hasnít. I think weíre going to get this thing right. I know we are.
Q: McAdoo had some tough words for the tight end blocking the other night. From an offensive linemanís point of view, how critical is it for them to be a part of that?
A: There are six offensive linemen and half the plays they are in there run blocking. Obviously, you look at that Jets defensive front and they have some grown men on that D-line. To put a tight end on Wilkerson, itís definitely a tough task. At the end of the day you have to go out there and block him. Itís the NFL; youíre going to go against guys that can make plays. We have to be able to secure ends, and doing everything we can on the backside to slow those guys up. That comes throughout the game, cutting guys backside and making sure weíre getting every hit on the guys we can. Just wear them out throughout the game and eventually those little creases turn into big gaps and you start gashing teams. Thatís what weíre looking forward to doing.
Q: You had mentioned the four-minute offense, obviously red zone efficiency and short yardage. Are you mindful that the run game, those were the issues for the most part? Is it a little bit more concerning that you have to run the ball to improve in those areas?
A: I think what weíre doing now, there have been good runs. Weíve actually picked up an outside toss, that we picked up a third down and five on that first drive coming out of the half and penalties brought us back. Obviously that would disappoint me the most. Some of the penalties in critical times. When we have a good play and it gets called back, we have to cut those mistakes out. Technique, error, those things are going to happen. This is the NFL; those guys get paid too. What we canít do is hurt ourselves pre and post snap with penalties. That really puts us in a tough position. Being at second and 20, second and third and 15. Those are tough times as a play caller to dial up something.
Q: Just to go back to what you said about Wilkerson and tight ends, thatís something in the regular season that probably wouldnít happen?
A: Iím pretty sure we would be game planning. We donít want to have a rookie tight end out there and his first block be against Wilkerson. Also at the same time, we have guys that can get that done and that have to get that done. Itís good for those guys to get that look now and make sure theyíre ready for it. Come regular season youíre going to be called on to make some blocks like that. You canít be perfect every play.
Q: We see it as a big loss, but you see it and say, ĎOk, we would do this differentlyí?
A: Yes, we would get into other plays. Obviously game plan for it. A positive to take from that game was the way we competed and the way we were able to finish that game and make plays. Kerry Wynn with that huge pick-six, our defense getting another pick and putting us in a position to score, thatís huge. For some of these young guys that are going to get meaningful reps at some point during the season, thatís a huge game for us. Thatís huge for us to get those reps and execute at a high level.
Q: How much does game planning help during the season with runs and stuff like that? Right now youíre not game planning all that much?
A: Itís huge. Youíre looking to attack a certain part of the defense and in a certain way. You just look at it and if you see a weakness in the defense youíre attacking it over and over again. Right now, if we have something that works we also want to try out some of our different scheme runs. Weíre not going to keep going back to the same play even if it was working. You want to see what everyone can do and get everyone running all the packages and looks you can get. Thatís something that weíre going to continue to do and weíre going to continue to game plan for Dallas. Obviously we know them, theyíre in our division, and weíre getting excited for it.