Is Left Guard Justin Pugh's permanent spot?

Posted Mar 25, 2016

Justin Pugh talks offseason prep as Coach Ben McAdoo says he will remain at Left Guard

From a left tackle in college to a right tackle in his first two NFL seasons to a left guard last season, Justin Pugh has been Mr. Versatility for the Giants.

But it might be time to give him a chance to grow at one spot.

First-year head coach Ben McAdoo, who was his offensive coordinator the last two seasons, alluded to it this week at the NFL Annual Meeting in Florida.
“I like having Justin at left guard,” he said. “I think having that interior side of the pocket -- on the left side -- nice and firm for the quarterback, a right-handed quarterback, is pretty important. But we’re going to look at things and if we need to make some adjustments, he can make adjustments. But you’d hate to keep moving Justin. Give him a chance to grow at one spot.”

Back at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, N.J., Pugh reacted to the idea of staying put.

“I’m excited about it,” he told “I felt like I did some real good things there last year. I’m looking forward to getting better, improving, and putting in a full 16 games at guard and showing what I can do.”

To prepare for playing in the close quarters at guard, Pugh said he is bulking up and putting weight on. Like last season, he is out in Los Angeles training at Jay Glazer’s gym with specialists in mixed martial arts.

“Just keep working on that, working on leverage because a lot of those guys inside are pretty big dudes,” Pugh said. “Luckily we’ve got Damon Harrison now coming over (the Giants signed the 350-pound defensive tackle earlier this month), so I don’t have to go against guys like that. But there are guys out there like that and you’ve got to be able to move around. So I’m working on getting low, using my leverage, using what I’m capable of doing. I think those are things I can get better at, and I’ve worked on improving this offseason.”

When Pugh was drafted by the Giants with the 19th overall pick in 2013, it began a three-year streak of the team selecting an offensive lineman in the first two rounds. After Pugh, center Weston Richburg was taken in the second round in 2014, and left tackle Ereck Flowers went ninth overall in 2015.

The three are now cornerstones in the foundation of a new-look offensive line.

“When you get five new guys in there and you’re all trying to work on things the first time, you’re going to have your bumps in the road,” Pugh said. “I think we experienced that. We overcame that. I think we ended the season on a high note. We were rushing the ball very well. We’ve got to pick up where we left off and keep growing and getting better, but I know the sky’s the limit for this group.”

And coming from a former left tackle himself, Pugh sees the potential in Flowers.

“Sky’s the limit for Ereck Flowers,” said Pugh, who started once at left tackle for Flowers last season. “I think he just needs to keep working on his technique, keep working on those little things that you don’t realize you get away with in college that you can’t in the pros.

“So it was a great rookie year for him. He played through some injuries and did some great things and he’s shown flashes of what he’s capable of doing. So I know Ereck Flowers can be one of the best left tackles. I’m excited for him to get back out here and us continuing to work and get better as an offensive line. We’ve got some things we’ve got to prove this year.”