Pugh responds to O'Hara questioning toughness

Justin Pugh has been anything but a pushover during his first two years as a New York Giant and he's not backing down from a former Giant who questioned the offensive line's toughness.

On Thursday former Giants offensive lineman Shaun O’Hara made some comments questioning the offensive line’s toughness. The eleven-year vet, who played his final seven years with the Giants, was a member of a great offensive line unit during his playing days.

Justin Pugh talked to reporters about what his take is on O’Hara’s comments, and talked about the offensive line and their health. Pugh agreed that it would be nice to have everyone healthy and available to play, but that getting healthy now is very important.

“You’d love to have those guys out there,” noted Pugh. “It’s tough, you never know with injuries and what’s going to happen with some of those guys. So getting them healthy, getting them out there is the most important thing right now. We’d love to have those guys, a lot of them are starters. We want to get that camaraderie going, so it would be great to get them out there. But I want them out there if they’re healthy, not if they’re going to re-injure themselves or make whatever injury they have worse.”

With a lot of new pieces expected to possibly start on the offensive line, likely including rookie first rounder Ereck Flowers and Will Beatty’s eventual replacement, as much practice time they can have to mesh is helpful. The best offensive lines in the NFL are those who are one unit and work together to get the job done. So as much as some people might dismiss O’Hara’s comments which stated “it was better back in the old days.”

They do bring up some credible concerns of the young line not having enough time to get to know each other and their tendencies. Yet, at the same time, there is a difference between being hurt and injured. There is no reason for anyone to practice when they are injured at the risk of aggravating injuries, especially so early in the pre-season.

Pugh did mention that some of the o-line has been watching tape of the offensive line group that Shaun O’Hara was a part of, as they have seemingly become one of the standards to look toward. “Yeah, I think me and Weston [Richburg] were two guys that got in there and watched film this offseason,” noted Pugh. “He was probably the first one that got in there and was watching film on those guys, and trying to emulate the way they played the game and the way they carried themselves, and the professionalism that they had. It was huge. Then I hear other guys like Schwartz talking about how when he was in Carolina, they used to watch the Giants offensive line because they were the standard in the NFL. So those are just a few things where I know people respect the way they played the game.”

As Pugh mentioned, it is very frustrating not having players available, but it is better to have them fresh at the end of the season, than it is to risk unnecessary injury. There is a difference between lacking toughness and making decisions that will benefit the season in the long-term. Having said all of that, the sooner they can return the better.

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