Guard Justin Pugh
Conference Call, September 1, 2017
Q: Did the starters get anything out of last night?
A: Yeah. I think some of the guys, they got to go out there and get a last chance to fine tune a couple things. I think it was just good for the team comradery Ė all of us to get out there together and cheer on the guys that are playing for a spot and have that trip to bond a little bit.
Q: Do you feel like the team is ready for Dallas?
A: Yeah, definitely. I think weíre going to take this weekend. Everyone is going to rest up, get their bodies feeling good and get started next week full steam ahead.
Q: Head Coach Ben McAdoo talked about working the team hard with three games in 11 days. Do you think that will pay dividends down the road?
A: Yeah. I mean, we definitely put some work in. We were going full pads two days before games. I think last year, that was the week that we put full pads on, we had our best weeks. So, I know Coach Mac is aware of that.
Q: How much have you looked ahead to Dallas as far as preparation?
A: A little bit. Obviously, weíve seen, you know, theyíve played some of the opponents that weíve played. We know them. They know us. Iím excited to get into next week and really start getting into and just focusing just on Dallas.
Q: How much have you looked at the Ezekiel Elliott issues happening right now?
A: I saw something on Twitter yesterday, but I donít pay attention to it. Whether heís there or not, itís not going to affect our offensive line, I donít think. We have to worry about going out there and doing our job. Our job is to keep them off the field, whether heís on their offense or not there.
Q: Are you excited to see how different the offense can look once you put all the pieces together?
A: Yeah, definitely. Itís going to be exciting to get all the guys back healthy. We only had the whole offense out there for maybe two or three drives. So, itíll definitely be exciting to have everyone out there. Big game. Weíre used to playing in Dallas on primetime. I feel like every year Iíve been here, weíve played in Dallas on primetime on a Sunday night game. Itís definitely going to be fun for us.
Q: How much did having a fullback help this summer?
A: Itís huge. It allows you to get in different personnel. Last year we were over 90% in the same personnel throughout the game, which makes it tough to keep defenses guessing. It helps. When youíre not running as many different formations and plays, it gives the defense a whole lot less to get ready for. Weíre still able to be successful running those plays and getting to the playoffs, so you add in a fullback, two tight ends, some receivers that are the size of offensive linemen, I think weíre going to be a lot more exciting to watch this year on offense.
Q: Why does putting on pads during the week make you have some of your best games?
A: I donít know. I donít think everyone is happy about putting pads on in Week 16. I donít know. I really donít know. I couldnít tell you.
Q: How do you view the Dallas rivalry since you beat them twice last year but they still won the division?
A: Theyíre definitely the team to beat. They won the division. We did beat them twice. So, thereís definitely a lot of storylines in that, I guess you could say. Weíre very familiar with them. So, weíre just going to go out there and itís going to be an NFC East game. Itís going to be grimy. Itís going to be gritty. Itís going to be tough. Youíre going to feel like you were in a car accident after that game.
Q: In retrospect, how important was the opening victory in Dallas last year?
A: It was huge for us. I think if you look back two years ago, we lost to them in similar circumstances. We didnít do the right things and we kind of blew the game two years ago. Then last year, we were able to go back down there and win the same type of game Ė a close, contested game. So, the goal is to go out there and not make it as close, get a lead and let our defense get after their offense and kind of make them one-dimensional, see if they can drop back and throw it.