New York Giants' first-round pick Justin Pugh made his preseason professional debut Sunday night against the Indianapolis Colts. Pugh entered the game late in the second quarter at left tackle, and remained in that spot in the third quarter.
"I felt comfortable over there. I think just knowing what I had to do was something that definitely helped me out. I had some good plays, I had some not-so-good plays that I wish I could get back, but I think overall, definitely learning from this, I’ll be able to get better next week," Pugh said in the locker room after the game. " I’m just excited to get out there and practice and correct some of the mistakes I had."
Pugh, drafted 19th overall by the Giants, missed the preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers with a concussion. He played 20 snaps Sunday night, surrendering one sack of backup quarterback David Carr.
"I think I did all right," Pugh said. "I had some real good plays there. Obviously that one, that one with the sack, you’ve just got to keep getting better and keep working on your technique. I definitely feel like I had more positive plays than negative. There are a couple of plays where obviously you wish you could get back, but you learn from those and you get better."
Here was how head coach Tom Coughlin reacted to Pugh's debut.
"I was glad to see him compete," Coughlin said. "Some of those kids on the edge were good rushers and he did a pretty good job of that. I like to look at the tape. I know we got tremendous pressure after he came out of the game, for example, he and a couple of others, so I’ll have to look at the tape."
Up to this point it has looked like Pugh might get some regular-season reps in "jumbo" packages as a third tight end, and that he would be a backup at both tackle positions. If David Baas' sprained knee forces him to miss regular-season time that could change.
Conor Orr of the Star-Ledger reported Sunday night that Baas sustained an MCL injury, adding "We'll likely not see Baas for the remainder of the preseason and possibly into the regular season."
One of the Giants' options for replacing Baas, if indeed he will be out of action for a while, is to move Pugh to right tackle, David Diehl to left guard and Kevin Boothe to center.