Being injured and unable to help your team. That is the realty for former Syracuse standout, and current Giants Tackle Justin Pugh. Pugh was an anchor of the SU line, providing physicality and toughness. He played through a variety of injuries as a member of the Orange, but the realization that he would be unable to play due to injury with the Giants did not sit well.
“It is the first time I have had to do this since college, so it was definitely tough,” noted Pugh. “Feeling like you can contribute and feeling like you can help out there and then not being able to go out there – it is something where I am getting back. My job is to get healthy and get back to 100 percent, so I can go out there and help this team.”
With circumstances being what they are, Pugh says the potential re-aggravation of his quad injury was too much to risk for a team out of the playoff hunt.
“Yeah I was close to playing, but we didn’t want to re-aggravate [my quad] and to end up coming out like I did in San Fran and leaving somebody who hadn’t prepared for that spot go in after me,” said New York’s offensive lineman. “I didn’t want to hurt the team and go out there and do that, but at the same time it was close.”
It has been a machination for head coach Tom Coughlin to piece together a coherent offensive line this season. Pugh says the offensive line struggles and lack of consistency has simply been a terrible series of unfortunate events.
“Honestly it was the worst-case scenario of what could happen when Geoff [Schwartz] went down right away and then James Brewer went down,” added Pugh.
With that said, Pugh believes the shuffling of the offensive line will yield some positive results, as other players will be thrust into starting roles.
“Every team deals with injuries,” admitted Pugh. “It is how you overcome the injuries. It is part of this game and I think it is something that we have to have guys step up and it is good for the young guys to get some chances to play and it is going to show us what we have here going forward.” Now you have a chance for guys like Eric Herman who is going to be up and show guys what he’s got.”
Pugh says despite the perception that injuries plagued and ruined the Giants season, it is unacceptable to use the injured players as scapegoats for this season.
“We have had a lot of injuries throughout the season, but I don’t think that is an excuse,” admitted Pugh. “You can never use that as an excuse. We have to go out there and play. You have to put 11 guys on the field and 11 guys that are going to produce. At the end of the day whoever is out there still has an ‘NY’ on their helmet and you have to represent this organization the right way.”
Pugh will be playing this week, and for Giants fans, at least one piece of the puzzle will be put into place.