Justin Pugh anticipates some nausea on Sunday night.
“Before the game and until I get out there and get that first hit in I’ll probably be a little nervous,” the rookie right tackle said of the run-up to his first NFL regular-season game. “I always have been that way. I think that’s how offensive linemen naturally are, you get a little nervous and you feel it in your stomach, you feel like you’re going to throw up. And then once you hit somebody you feel a lot better.”
The Giants are hoping to feel better about Pugh after the game, too. The first-round pick will have a difficult task to start his career, blocking a rotation of defensive ends in perhaps Anthony Spencer (if he plays, he didn’t practice much today), George Selvie and Kyle Wilber. Jason Garrett said he might even throw DeMarcus Ware over on Pugh’s side to give the rookie a good test.
“You have to be prepared for anything,” Pugh said. “Whoever they put up against me I’m going to have to block so I just try to go out there and execute my job.”
Pugh made a point this preseason to keep the defenders across from him “faceless.” In other words, he wanted to focus more on what he was doing than who he was doing it against. Now, though, that philosophy goes out the window.
“You have to know what type of player you’re going against, be able to know his strengths and weaknesses and use that to your advantage,” Pugh said. “Obviously the faceless opponent thing might not be the same motto I’m taking right now because you do have to be aware of whom you are going up against. Especially since you’re going to be going against these guys two times (this season) so you want to learn things while you’re out there playing them.”
Other than that – and the reduced number of players at practice – Pugh said he’s trying to keep the same mindset this week that he’s had during the preseason.
“I’m just kind of taking it in stride, going out there and doing what I do best, just playing football,” he said. “I did get my first start against the Jets and every week you want to build upon that last experience. I’m ready.”