Transitioning from college to the NFL is never easy, and that's something New York Giants offensive tackle Justin Pugh found out a year ago. Despite dominating in both High School and later at Syracuse, Pugh received a rude awakening in 2013 — specifically, in week three against the Carolina Panthers when we was abused by defensive end Charles Johnson.
“I never got even beat once on a play in college,” Pugh told the Bucks County Courier Times. “I never remember ever getting manhandled. Then I went against Charles Johnson. I didn’t even know who Charles Johnson was. And he just kicked my butt.
“At the end of the game, he came up to me and said, ‘You’re going to be a good player. You just have to work on a few things.’ “
It was a lesson learned for Pugh; a dose of reality and a kick in the pants he needed. That game — that moment — helped propel him forward. And although he still went through some growing pains and struggled at times, Pugh ultimately ended his rookie campaign as the highest graded first-round tackle from the 2013 NFL Draft and was later named to the Pro Football Writers of America's All-Rookie Team.
Now, headed into 2014, Pugh says he's gained 10 lbs. of muscle and is prepared for the adjustment to the offensive system, which he feels is somewhat similar to the one run at Syracuse under then-head coach Doug Marrone, who is now head coach of the Buffalo Bills.
“It’s very similar to that,” Pugh said. “The play call, obviously, is totally different, but up-tempo style of offense is definitely there.”
With so many unanswered questions surrounding the Giants, Pugh now represents a little solidarity i only his second NFL season.
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