In Week 2 of the preseason when the New York Giants played the Indianapolis Colts, rookie offensive lineman Justin Pugh didn't get in on the action until the second team took the field. That wasn't the case on Saturday against the Jets when Pugh was in the starting lineup thanks to David Diehl's thumb injury.
Despite it being Pugh's first game action against NFL starters, the first round pick out of Syracuse didn't have many butterflies in his stomach.
"I felt comfortable," said Pugh. "I mean, it's just playing football. It was as much fun that I had playing football in a while. Just getting out there and being able to play and compete, and just get better every time. I'm looking forward to looking at this film, get better from it, and get better each week." Things started out well for Pugh against the Jets, as the Giants scored on an 84-yard David Wilson touchdown run on the team's first possession. After that, though, a harsh reality set in, as the Giants struggled to move the ball on the ground or through the air. Wilson gained just eight yards on his next four carries, and quarterback Eli Manning completed less than 50 percent of his passes. There is still much to work on before the regular season starts.
"I guess I kind of got spoiled on that first drive," said Pugh, "We had an 84-yard touchdown run on your first drive out there, so it wasn't too bad. Just look at the film, see things you did well, what you did bad, learn from your mistakes, and you improve. If you don't get anything out of it, you can't get better. So, I definitely want to see this film and improve and get better."
Getting better will be the major focus for the Giants when they take on the New England Patriots in their final preseason game on Thursday night. Although the starters are not expected to play much at all, the game is still important for young players like Pugh for whom any playing experience is valuable.