Chris Snee keeping an eye on rookie Justin Pugh
Recovering from offseason hip surgery at the age of 31 as he approaches his 10th NFL season, Giants guard Chris Snee knows he’s on the back nine of his football career. Rather than react with apprehension after the team used its No. 1 pick for Syracuse tackle Justin Pugh and a seventh-round choice on Ohio guard Eric Herman, Snee understands his role in the evolutionary process.
“The time’s coming,” Snee said of the inevitable makeover of an aging offensive line. “We’re certainly not getting any younger. From what I’ve seen and heard, this kid [Pugh] seems like he’s a good guy and will fit in our locker and our meeting room well. He’s a hard worker. He doesn’t know, but I’ve been kind of sitting back and watching him. He works, and so does the other guy [Herman] and those are guys we like to have around here.”
Snee wasn’t on the field for the Giants’ first OTA session on Wednesday, but he was at the training facility following his rehabilitation regimen. “I’ve been in the weight room hitting the weights pretty hard in there,” Snee said. “There’s no setbacks. Whenever I’m allowed to go out, I’ll go out. But there’s no rush.”
It’s possible Pugh will get a shot at a starting job in training camp. But Snee and rehabbing center David Baas were replaced on Wednesday by James Brewer and center Jim Cordle with the first unit.
Pugh will have plenty of help making the transition to pro ball. “He’s surrounded by guys who have been through that adjustment, and it is an adjustment,” Snee said. “He seems very professional when he comes in here. He’s been working in the weight room, pays attention in meetings, asks questions. At this point, that’s all you can do. Just try and get a handle on the offense as quickly as you can. It’s not easy.”
The coaching staff tests newcomers by throwing the playbook at them to see how quickly they can adapt to the new situation. But the game doesn’t always happen the way it’s written down on paper, and some things only can be learned through experience.
That’s where Snee’s experience and smarts can be so valuable to young linemen, and he embraces his job as a mentor. “Absolutely,” Snee said. “I had guys when I was a young guy who did the same thing, Sean O’Hair and Rich [Seubert]. That’s the cycle. Now, I’m the veteran guy. I’ve been in a lot of games, and I’ve seen it all.
“Any time he has a question, I made that known to both of those guys [Pugh and Herman]. I told them I’m going to be hard on them, but that’s part of it. I’m never too serious about it, but I also want them to know they shouldn’t feel uncomfortable coming up to me. I’m happy to help, and I know the future is the young guys and we need to get them ready soon.”