G Justin Pugh
Conference Call, September 27, 2016
Q: How do you prevent Sunday's game from becoming a part of your identity as opposed to being a team that knows it can win the close ones?
A: You just go back to what got us here in the first place, go back to the basics. Make sure we're not hurting ourselves. I think this is definitely a wake-up call for us and you see how easily a game can go the other way. So just going back to those basics and making sure it doesn't happen again.
Q: What do you know about the Vikings’ defensive front?
A: They have a really good front. I haven't watched a whole lot, obviously, we've been off. Just from watching some of their games and playing against them last year, I know it's a really good defensive front and we have our work cut out for us. I talked to a buddy who plays for the Packers and he said that the place gets loud. So obviously we need to be ready for that.
Q: You were a rookie when Linval Joseph was in this locker room. Just curious to hear your impressions of him when he was here.
A: Linval Joseph is probably one of the hardest working guys. Always in the weight room; probably one of the strongest guys in the NFL. Definitely got our work cut out for us. Obviously, playing against him last year, you can see that in the way he plays and I think he's one of the best nose tackles in the NFL. It's an exciting challenge to go out there and go against a really good front on Monday Night Football, it's going to be fun.
Q: How do you think Brett Jones did when he had to step in for Weston Richburg on Sunday?
A: He was huge for us. To come in and play center in a game like that, with the intensity that the game was at - he didn't skip a beat. Everyone was on point and hats off to Brett for preparing and always being ready to go into the game. There's a reason why he made it to the 53 and it showed on Sunday.
Re: this week’s game
A: I think, obviously, as you play in this league, you’ve got to go and you’ve got to prepare and you’ve got to work. You can't really put everything on one aspect of the game. We know what our job is to do, we’ve got to keep Eli upright and open up holes for the running backs. That's a challenge that we're ready to accept. I think it's going to be a huge game. We’ve got to bounce back after last week and looking forward to Monday night.
Q: Coach McAdoo said that Odell Beckham Jr. has to be careful not be a distraction to himself and his teammates. As his teammate, did you find what he did distracting?
A: No, I didn't find it distracting. But, obviously, I'm also out there playing. I'm not sitting, watching what's going on the whole time. I’ve got to worry about what I have to do. Obviously he's one of the leaders of this team. He's an emotional guy. We just have to make sure that those emotions are driven to going out there on the field and performing. I think he knows that, he knows that for sure. Obviously, he's one of the best receivers in the league and we need him out him there on the field. Last year when we played Minnesota, we didn't have him and that definitely hurt. He knows that and he knows we need him out there.
Q: Are you mindful of the fact that this game is going to be the start of a tough stretch for you guys. At Minnesota, at Green Bay, against the Ravens, then you got to go to London. Where does the team stand going into this tough four-week stretch?
A: We're locked in, we're ready to go. I think this is something that's going to be huge for us. These next four games; obviously you have two away games against some good teams...some really good teams. So everyone's got to be all in. We’ve got to focus in and get ready to go. Obviously, leading up until the bye week, this four-game stretch is huge for us.
Q: What kind of loss is Shane Vereen for you guys?
A: You obviously hate to see injuries. But obviously in the NFL, things like that happen all the time. I was surprised, too, because, I saw him after the game and it didn't seem like it was bothering him too much. Shane's a great guy and I hope he has a speedy recovery because he's someone that we're definitely going to miss out there.
Q: How does the running game change, if at all, if Orleans Darkwa has to carry the bulk of the load?
A: I mean, we're going to do the same stuff. Orleans always runs. I think, even going back to last year, he puts his head down and he's going to get some yards. I'm excited for him to get the opportunity. That's huge, that's something that you dream about, to be the starting running back. He's going to have his chance on Monday Night Football.