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Giants' rookie Justin Pugh 'just trying to learn'

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Pugh discusses the importance of David Diehl and the progress he's made this year

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It's no secret Justin Pugh struggled out of the gates this season.

But fast forward three months and the rookie offensive tackle has certainly made progress. After all, there's a learning curve when it comes to playing tackle in the NFL.

"It's just learning. ... It's being out there, getting those live reps," Pugh said during a conference call Monday. "When you're thrown into the fire like I was with Dave Diehl going down, me having to step up, you learn what you're made of. The NFL let's you find out real quick if you're going to compete or not.

"I'm just trying to learn from the best, the guys in front of me, and go out there and play physical. I try to go out there and fight every play and learn from my mistakes and learn from things I do well and trying not to repeat those things."

[Related: Justin Tuck "really excited" about Pugh's future]

Now the man Pugh had to step in for is playing beside him, setting an example for his rookie counterpart.

Not only has Diehl helped Pugh transition to the pros with his play, but as a mentor as well.

"Dave's kind of taken me under his wing and tried to show me what it takes to be a professional," Pugh said. "He tried to help me out and tell me what kind of moves those certain guys will make, or how I can adjust my set or get an advantage on certain plays. It's just him showing me how to go out there and battle."

The progress Pugh has made this season was evident in Sunday night's win over the Washington Redskins, when the rookie was an integral part of the Giants' running game toward the right side.

Of course it's a total team effort, Pugh said modestly, demonstrating he is learning lessons from the veterans -- team before the individual.

"It's an effort from all (the) guys," the rookie tackle said. "As an offensive lineman, you have to always talk about the five guys."

Follow Sam on Twitter @SamSpiegs