Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Pugh Moves Ahead

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Pugh Moves Ahead

Article excerpt

Justin Pugh is no longer re-living the nightmare for which he apologized last season.

Nothing went right for the Giants the last time they visited Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia and were manhandled by the Eagles in a 27-0 loss that sent them back up the turnpike embarrassed and without the injured Victor Cruz.

The Eagles sacked Eli Manning six times, four of which came at Pugh's expense at right tackle. He was forced into survival mode, trying to "just not screw something up."

Pugh did not go to bed when the Giants arrived home in the early morning hours, instead choosing to stay awake and watch the game so that he could critique his performance.

"The worst game I played at any level," Pugh would say afterward.

As the Giants prepare to return to the City of Brotherly Love, Pugh has not watched video of that game since and admittedly has no plans to do so.

"No reason to watch it, especially not of me," Pugh said earlier this week. "I was the right tackle then. I'm the left guard now. Nothing I can learn from it anymore."

Pugh has already learned plenty from that forgettable evening and the Giants' 2013 first-round pick took the lessons from the outing into the off-season and used them as the motivation behind perfecting his craft.

"I was too jacked up for that game, wanting to beat them so bad that I played out of my normal context," Pugh added. "Being able to move past a bad play in the game, it's something I had to learn instead of letting things snowball, and that's what happened there last year. That game taught me plenty physically and mentally."

Pugh has played three of the five positions up front in the first 36 games of his career. He battled through elbow injuries last season, missing just one game, but his play was obviously affected. With rookie Ereck Flowers at left tackle and second-year pro Weston Richburg at home at center, Pugh has emerged as the stabilizing force between them.

In switching positions, Pugh has shown the versatility for which he was praised upon entering the league. …

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