Last week, rookie offensive lineman Justin Pugh said he was going stir crazy as he watched his new teammates take the field without him.
“Obviously missing that first game and then having this whole week where I was able to get in there and practice, I wanted to get out there and play,” he said. “Everyone practices so they can play in a game. I was happy to get in there and take the opportunities I had and do some good things. I’m excited to get out there next weekend and improve.”
This week Pugh, who was cleared to return to the field after missing time due to a concussion, got his chance to play at left tackle with the second team in the Giants’ 20-12 loss to the Colts.
He also was in with the starters as the jumbo tight end for one play, but the play had to be scrapped due to a penalty down by the goal line.
“It was funny because I thought, “Oh my god, I’m in here with the ones, we’re going to get a touchdown, they’re going to run right to my side,” and all of a sudden you have all these things going on in your mind and they wave off the flag and I’ve got to come back off the field. I’m sitting there waiting for the refs to get done so I can report my number eligible, but it didn’t work out.”
Pugh, who was believed to be in the mix for the starting right tackle spot, has taken the bulk of his reps at left tackle, the position he played in college.
“Yeah, I felt comfortable over there. I think just knowing what I had to do was something that definitely helped me out,” he said. “I had some good plays, I had some not-so-good plays that I wish I could get back, but I think overall, definitely learning from this, I’ll be able to get better next week. I’m just excited to get out there and practice and correct some of the mistakes I had.”
With starting center David Baas reportedly sidelined for the next 3-6 weeks, Pugh might get a chance this week in camp to see even more time on the field, perhaps with the starters, as the giants will probably move Kevin Boothe to center which would free up the left guard spot for Pugh and second-year offensive lineman Brandon Mosley to share reps at.
“Whatever role they want, it’s a good spot for me,” he said when asked if he had a preference. “Wherever they want me, as long as I can get out there and play and contribute and help us win, I’ll be happy doing that. I think some of the stuff I was able to learn tonight will definitely help me out.”