With the start of the New York Giants' offseason training program has come a number of press conferences. A number of players spoke to the mediaThursday , including -- current -- right tackle Justin Pugh. Pugh was asked about, and spoke about, a variety of topics, ranging from his new puppy, to the upcoming draft, to the Giants' prospects for the 2015 season.
Pugh opened with the news that he just adopted a new puppy -- and on a personal note: kudos for adoption --
I am good. I am doing well. I just got a puppy. He is wheaten doodle mix. His name is Murphy. His name was Murphy and I always said if I got a dog I would name him Murphy, so someone was trying to get rid of him and I adopted him. I got him now. He is doing well in the crate. We are having a little trouble here with the potty training, but we are getting it down. I will take him for a walk when I get out of here.He is going to love me no matter what. He just wants me to play my hardest. We will see what happens.
That last was in response to whether or not Murphy's love was contingent on whether Pugh plays tackle or guard in 2015. That wasn't the last time the issue of position was brought up.
I think, if you look at every single Giants offensive lineman that has been here when we won Super Bowls, the David Diehls of this world, who moved from guard, to tackle, to left tackle. Won a Superbowl playing left tackle. Nobody thought he could do that. I think if you don't have that mentality in the offensive line room, you're not going to be successful. You have to have versatility.
So if a rookie tackle were to force Pugh to move to guard, that wouldn't bother him at all. But does he see a rookie who he would like to play with?
I like the kid from Iowa, just from what I have seen. He seems like a tough kid. I have watched a few games on him and that is someone I would like to play to with. ...I've heard he's tough. He plays tackle, he may be a guard, may be a tackle. That's something I went through coming into the draft. I'm just looking forward to getting a guy in here who wants to work and do things the right way, and has the right attitude. I've heard everything about that kid is great, and I'd love to have him.
Scherff wasn't the only prospect, Pugh talked about. He also talked, raved, about former Syracuse teammate Sean Hickey.
If I was an agent, I'd be saying that I want to draft Sean Hickey from Syracuse. That's my guy, Sean Hickey is my guy.
["At number nine?"] Yeah, why not? I would love for him to go a high as he could go.
[...] I was one of the guys who helped recruit Sean to Syracuse, he's like my little brother. He played left tackle when I got injured. He's got to be one of the strongest offensive linemen in this draft. He's been around, he's played through injuries, he's overcome adversity. I haven't seen much of [Vic] Beasley, but all I know is that Sean shut him down two years in a row, and that kid is supposed to be a top ten pick. If he's a top ten pick, and Sean handled him, then Sean should be up there too.
And while he might not technically be a draft prospect, Pugh was also asked what he thought of new Giant Brett jones:
He's a smart kid, eh? Just in here, in meeting, he's been great. He's smart, he works hard, and that's the kind of attitude we need.
When also asked whether or not he felt that the offensive line is one "top-notch" player away from being complete, Pugh responded by saying:
I don't think you can just point one finger at it. I think every year the five guys have to come together, they have to gel, and be a cohesive unit. I think you could have as many great players, individually, as you want on that offensive line, but if you're not working together, you're not getting things done, and I think that it would be a failure. So I think that we have to make sure that we come together and play as one unit, play cohesive, and are, you know, much more physical and violent up front, and just have some fun.
He was also asked about what he, personally, had been doing to build, and improve on, his 2014 season.
Luckily this year I had no injuries so as soon as the season ended I started training. I did six weeks here with [Strength and Conditioning Coach] Jerry Palmieri. Then this year I went out and worked with Jay Glazer. He has a MMA gym out in Los Angeles. My whole thing this year was wrestling, working on hand violence, working on leverage and playing lower. I was out there wrestling Chuck Lidell and Randy Couture. There were a bunch of other guys out there. Odell [Beckham Jr.] was out there. Kevin Ogletree. It was great. It was great for me to get out there and have a different type of training. It is body on body work and it is working on establishing the center of gravity. It was good.
All in all, Pugh seemed to be in a good mood and had no problems showing some personality to the media. He also spoke with some fire and conviction, perhaps taking steps toward replacing the kind of locker room presence the Giants once had in Richie Suebert, Chris Snee, and David Diehl.