Justin Pugh wasn't going to flinch. Not when offensive coordinator Mike McCoy was fired, and not now when Sam Bradford was cut, a month since being benched and only a few months since he joined Pugh as incoming free agents thought to be key starters for 2018.
"I’ve been through this before," the guard said. "Last year I had a GM, head coach, Hall of Fame quarterback get benched all in one season. After last year, nothing really surprises me in this game.”
Indeed, if anyone has been through such things it's Pugh, who while with the New York Giants saw GM Jerry Reese and coach Ben McAdoo sacked in-season, and Eli Manning go to the bench for one December hurricane of upheaval.
Changes such as these -- big changes -- aren't ideal. No one, regardless how hardened they might be from what they have seen, will say that. It means things aren't going well, and that alone isn't good.
But this really isn't anything. I think back to Dennis Green's first year with the Cardinals as head coach, and Larry Fitzgerald's rookie season. That's the season in which the Cards had won four of six with Josh McCown as quarterback -- only to have Shaun King installed as a surprise starter in Week 10 (a blowout loss) and then have McCown come in in relief of King in Week 11, only to have rookie John Navarre start in Week 12 and then, with Navarre hurt, McCown come back in to start Week 13. That's the season in which the Cardinals cut tackle Everett Lindsay at the end of camp, only to immediately install him as the assistant offensive line coach to Bob Wylie (recently famous with his stint on the Browns' "Hard Knocks" season). Then Green fired Wylie six weeks or so into the season, promoting Lindsay to OL coach, where he was coaching guys who had literally just proven to be better than Lindsay on the line. It was very, very interesting.
So a single coordinator change and a struggled veteran QB (when there was a first-round rookie waiting) doesn't seem so crazy. Pugh and his teammates will absorb it and move on to the second half of the season, trying to build some momentum going forward.