G Justin Pugh
December 27, 2016
Q: How important is it to get that game right before the playoffs?
A: I think we just have to go out there and play good football, take care of the ball and do what we have to do and I think we have had games where we have had a chance to break it open. But obviously we had to score in the red zone or we turned the ball over, so I think just doing the little things right and making sure that we take care of our end of it and we will be alright.
Q: Can this game be a good tool for you going forward?
A: Yeah, I think so. You can work on some of the things that obviously have plagued us thus far this season. Obviously we have done some really good things, we have 10 wins. There is a reason why we are in the playoffs. But to go out there and do some things personally and as a unit, as an offensive line, we obviously have things that we want to work on from last week and you go out there and do that and like I said before, you want to be ascending going into the playoffs and we have a chance to do that going up against a tough divisional opponent in their place.
Q: Is there any element to keeping the Skins out of it?
A: We feel comfortable playing them. They are a good team. We know them, they know us. It is just like any other divisional game. It would be nice to knock them out. We are not their biggest fans and they are not our biggest fans, so to send them home would be pretty good for us.
Q: What do you say to people who say that it is more important not to get injuries in a game like this?
A: I think that if you start trying to play to not get hurt then that is when you do get hurt. We have to go out there and do what you have always done, prepare like you have prepared and this is the start of the playoffs for us. We are going on the road, keep working in hostile environments and learning how to play well on the road is something that we are going to have to get better at and it is something that we are going to have to do in the playoffs, so this is a good first test for us.
Q: Was it strange to clinch the playoffs and not be together as a team?
A: I don’t know what it is like to clinch when we are all together, so just to get in I was happy with. I was celebrating with my family; it was Christmas Eve. I mean, you can’t really think – obviously I would have loved to have been in that locker room with all the guys, but we were all texting each other and I got to cultrate with my family and we all watched together, so that was a pretty special moment for me and my family. But I know that each guy probably had something very similar to that happen and it was good.
Q: What does it mean for you to make the playoffs?
A: Yeah, it is my fourth year and we haven’t made the playoffs yet. This is huge. I was getting goosebumps when the Saints took that kneel down and I knew that we were going. It is something that is very special to me, very special to this fan base and obviously since being here, I wanted to get back for them and this organization and to go with a group of guys that I love so much and this group in here has been so close and it has been fun.
Q: Today was the first day that you came together as a playoff team. Did that make it more real?
A: No, I feel like today was business as usual. We didn’t talk about the playoffs until coach called us up at the very end of practice today, so we were in there just not talking about it and we were all Washington today.
Q: Did he bring it up?
A: He brought it up at the very end of practice. There was no mention of it in the meetings. It was all about Washington and making sure that we are prepared for them.
Q: What was his message?
A: Congratulations. I mean you have to mention it. You have to talk about it. It is not the way we wanted it to happen, but we are in and we deserve to be in. We got the 10 wins, but we’ve got to go – and he kept saying, ‘Be ascending going into the playoffs.’
Q: Has he talked to you guys about playing time? Do you think you will be rested later in the game or do you think this is all full go?
A: I mean, you really can’t. I saw this quote from Belichick up in New England, ‘You only have 53 guys. I am not a mathematician.’ That is what I think he said. But we are not bringing guys in from some other place and having a replacement team. We have to go out there and play good football. You only have so many guys that can go into the game, so I am not going into this game preparing as if I am going to get pulled out because there is not really anyone to go in for us, so we have to make sure that we are ready to go.
Q: Would your knee benefit from time off at this point?
A: I think a lot of guys have injuries, bumps and bruises, so I am not the only one that can use a week off. I think that everyone in the NFL could use a week off. Everyone could use time to heal up. No one is feeling great right now, but we have to go out there and I would rather have that gel and have that comradery keep building than get a week off and lose that.
Q: So do you think your mindset that you are playing the whole game is what all the starters are thinking?
A: Yeah, I think that if you went in assuming that you weren’t going to play, you would be putting yourself in a bad position.