With a new head coach and an off-season capitalized by a heavy influx of star players on the defensive side of the ball, the New York Giants began their voluntary off-season workouts on April 11. All eyes are on the offensive coordinator turned head coach in Ben McAdoo and how he will begin his regime.
Needless to say, the players were enthusiastic after the conclusion of the first day of workouts.
“It was good to get everyone back here,” said third year offensive lineman Justin Pugh. “Get everyone to see the faces, meet the new coaches. So it was a good first day. The offense, I think we’re kind of used to the way McAdoo approaches things, how he communicates with us. It was a good day for us. I think it was more for the defense really meeting him and getting to know a lot more about him, because a lot of the things the offensive guys have seen throughout the course of the years we’ve had with Mac already.”
The offensive side of the ball remains largely unchanged since last year, other than the loss of Rueben Randle and the possible resurgence of Victor Cruz. An important thing for the Giants is that their offensive line hopes to improve on their young players in Pugh, Weston Richburg, and last year’s first round selection Ereck Flowers.
“Last year, still learning the system, it was new to [Flowers],” Pugh said. “A lot of calls, me and him we’re working on things together. I think this year it’s more of we’ve already got that feel, we’re already building on that trust that we built last year. We’re looking to pick up where we left off and really get this thing rolling, taking a leadership role, and really finishing the games—obviously improving on the run game, improving on third down, and scoring when we get in the green zone.”
A young offensive line in front of star quarterback Eli Manning would normally garner a bit more attention in the off-season, but the addition of new defensive stars Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, and Janoris Jenkins, has stolen a bit of the limelight. It could be understandable that some players on the offensive side may feel a little disrespected.
“No, I never feel that way,” Pugh said. “We’re always, as a group, we’re going to go out there and work. We don’t need any recognition, we’re offensive linemen; we’re used to that. We’re blue-collar, we’re going to come, roll up our sleeves, and go to work. We’re excited to get in there, we’ve got a new coach, we’ve got a lot to learn, we’ve got a lot to work on.”
Pugh’s sense of maturity and sportsmanship is a noticeable quality. If he truly wishes to be a leader of the offensive line, not to mention the rest of the team, he is on the right track to getting there.
Fans should make no mistake about it: these workouts are important for the new defense to get acclimated, but it is just as important for an offensive to continue to improve off an already established chemistry.