Justin Pugh: Left Tackle?
As the New York Football Giants continue their quest to install OC Ben McAdoo’s version of the West Coast Offense, the offensive line continues to shuffle. Whether it be due to injury, or poor play… the Jints haven’t found a rhythm and combination on the OL that truly fits the new system from a productivity stand point. At least, that’s how it seems.
Sure, the Giants are 3-0, but it hasn’t been pretty on offense — that is unless you consider pretty ugly, technically still “pretty”. Speaking of ugly, the “big uglies” in Giants practice have apparently been shifting like extra body weight on a halting Subway. It’s even been noted that Justin Pugh has been getting some reps in on the left side of the line in Will Beatty’s domain. After all, Big Will has started 31 games for the Giants in the past two seasons, playing a lot of Left Tackle… so it makes fans wonder.
Now, many casual fans may assume Will Beatty was the left tackle for the Giants during the Super Bowl in 2011, but remember, he had a detached retina and was sent to IR prior to the playoffs. The Giants won the Super Bowl with David Diehl playing left tackle, in not just the 2011 season, but 2007 as well. Talk about the Real Diehl.
Which brings us to Justin Pugh. The bottom line in Pugh’s NFL Draft profile insinuated that he was likely going to be a guard:
Pugh is a seasoned starter at offensive tackle with very good movement skills. However, he lacks adequate arm length and size to stick at offensive tackle going forward. His best fit will likely be as an offensive guard in a zone-blocking scheme.
And — now Justin Pugh’s taking reps with the first team at left tackle:
Justin Pugh is lined up at left tackle with the first team. First time we have seen this.
— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) August 19, 2014
What’s the rest of the line look like with him there?
Interesting new sub OL look: LT Justin Pugh, LG Geoff Schwartz, C Walton, RG Richburg, RT Mosley. #NYG
— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) August 19, 2014
That is interesting, Art.
A solid fan film study on Justin Pugh from last November came to this conclusion:
Despite the pick being hated at the time, Pierre-Paul went on to become an absolutely dominant defender by his second season in the NFL. The selection of Pugh was loved about as much as the Giants 2010 first-round choice. Will he become a dominant player like his teammate? Nobody can say right now.
The stats say that Pugh is rapidly improving as an NFL offensive tackle.
Another player quickly rising, Justin Pugh. After a horrid start, Pugh has now graded positively in pass protection in four out of his last five games, including a +1.5 this week in which he allowed a single QB hurry.
-InvictusXI, New York Giants vs. Green Bay Packers: PFF Review
His game tape is certainly backing that up.
Pugh’s pass blocking is improving by leaps and bounds. And while he will likely never be confused with a road grading mauler of a right tackle like Kareem McKenzie, Pugh’s run blocking is coming along as well.
Though Pugh’s career is still in its infancy, early indications are that Reese has once again served up a helping of first-round crow.
Justin Pugh: Moving Forward
While Justin saw some action at LT this week, that doesn’t guarantee that will be the case during the season.
Will Beatty has been a average to decent presence at LT when he’s been healthy throughout his career and is expected to play this season. It was explained to Ralph Vacchiano that Will Beatty wants to be extraordinary, not average:
LT Will Beatty says he had “an average performance” tonight. He adds “But I don’t want to be average. I want to be extraordinary.”
— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoNYDN) August 17, 2014
Justin Pugh: Options
For the Giants 2013 first rounder to end up on the left side of the line, he has to dominate. In practice, in games, in the film room, off the field in preparation… otherwise, he’ll remain on the right side. Not necessarily a negative, but not necessarily signs that Justin Pugh is a world-beater either. In the end, the Giants will put the best five out there, and Will Beatty and Justin Pugh are both in that discussion. Where it goes from here depends on their health and performance.