When Justin Pugh defended teammates Marshall Newhouse and John Jerry from their very loud critics last week, it may have been one of the most important blocks he has thrown. Not because it stopped people in the outside world from fretting over that right side of the line, but because of what it meant inside the Giants’ offensive line room.
Newhouse on Monday said it will “100 percent” bolster the trust and camaraderie of the group.
“We’re the one group that you need five guys on the same page,” he said. “You need five guys kind of fighting for each other, covering each other. I don’t think it applies anywhere more than it does for the offensive line.”
Newhouse is aware that he is less lineman and more malign-man for the Giants. Many point to him as the weak link not only to the group but the entire offense. He came to the Giants last season after losing starting jobs elsewhere and was expected to be a backup rotational player, but instead he became the starting right tackle. The Giants have searched for a replacement for him this offseason but have not added one through either the draft or free agency.
That search likely will continue, but for now, Newhouse remains penciled in at starting right tackle. And he’s certainly aware of how he is viewed by fans and the media.
“I self-assess harder than anyone can ever criticize me, so whatever has been said or is being said about me, I have thought about it and critiqued it harder than they ever could have,” Newhouse said. “I take that into the offseason, I take that into my improvements and my work ethic going into the season, so there is not anything that throws me off or blows me away anymore after this many years kind of seeing things.”
He said many of his mistakes in 2015 were due to technique issues, which he believes are already being cleaned up with the help of new offensive line coach Mike Solari. And he refuted the idea that he is a bad player.
“I’m going into my seventh year,” he said, “so I feel like I’m fooling someone really well if I am going into my seventh year and I still can’t play.”
Newhouse, 27, knows that there is a chance he will be replaced before the regular season starts. But for now, the Giants appear to be heading into 2016 with the same five starters as last year. That’s good, they all say. It builds continuity and consistency.
“We are fortunate to be ahead of the curve there,” Newhouse said. “It’s tangible.”
Comments like Pugh’s — and similar ones from center Weston Richburg earlier this offseason — go a long way toward fostering the tightness of that knit.
“That is who Justin is, he is a loyal guy and a friend,” Newhouse said. “The offensive line, usually, have to be our own best advocates because from the outside, there aren’t a lot of people who are going to stand up for us if we don’t do it ourselves. So it is much appreciated and it goes around to the entire line group.”