The offensive line looked confused, Eli Manning just looked bad –– again –– and Tom Coughlin isn’t happy. Those have all been common themes so far for the New York Giants this preseason and there doesn’t appear to be an end any time soon.
“It was 10 guys getting the play right and maybe one guy having a misstep,” he said on Monday. “As for yourself, you have to make sure that is not you and everyone takes that mentality and we have 11 guys on the same page.”
The offensive line has been an issue for the Giants over the last few seasons. The Giants allowed 40 sacks last season and 83 QB hits. New York allowed just one sack on Saturday and Pugh took responsibility for it.
“Yeah, I saw it coming,” he said. “Eli made the right call, I should’ve come down, I should’ve blocked him. Honestly, I thought he was going to work out and contain. So I kind of hedged my bet and obviously made the wrong decision.”
One of the goals of new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s West Coast-style offense was to get the ball out of Manning’s hands faster. The strategy there is simple: the less time Manning has the ball the less time the offensive line has to pass block. And the less time the offense has to pass block, the fewer times Manning gets hit.
That transition hasn’t worked out as planned, though, and Pugh says it’s going to take longer for the team to figure it out.
“In the run game, it is a lot different,” he said. “I think in pass protection we have to make sure we get up there, get on the ball, and give Eli time to look at the defense and make the corrections we need to make. It's not too much different, it’s just all of us getting on the same page and making the calls.”
For many fans, the process of getting on the same page has taken far too long, especially with the first-team offense. The Giants scored 27 points, but four touchdowns came in the fourth quarter. Before the fourth quarter, the Giants had just seven points and it was backup QB Ryan Nassib, not Manning, that made the plays. Nassib completed 11 of 15 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown.
“I think in the first two games, there were some points in the games that were like, ‘hey, if we can just be on the same page, we are going to be all right,’” Pugh said. “We saw how close we were and I think this past week, to step back, we really have to make sure we get back to where we were and beyond those first two games.”