The New York Giants indicated on Sunday that the organization would be targeting Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur as the team’s next head coach, following several weeks of interviewing mainly defensive-minded coaches. Given Shurmur’s track record, this hiring would be a match made in heaven.
Shurmur has limited experience as a head coach in the NFL, coaching the Cleveland Browns to a 9-23 record during the 2011 and 2012 seasons before being fired. However, Shurmur’s failures with the Browns can quite easily be attributed to the lack of talent on the team’s roster, and he coached quarterback Colt McCoy to rather impressive statistical numbers given these shortcomings and the Browns’ extensive issues at quarterback.
In fact, Shurmur’s greatest success since becoming a coach in the NFL has been with quarterbacks. As the Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterbacks coach during the early 2000s, Shurmur helped Donovan McNabb become arguably the best quarterback in team history. During the 2009 and 2010 seasons as an offensive coordinator with the St. Louis Rams, Shurmur mentored Sam Bradford during his Rookie of the Year award-winning season.
More recently, Shurmur returned to the Eagles as the team’s offensive coordinator in 2013, guiding Nick Foles to a record-breaking season and helping the team win an NFC East title. Shurmur started the 2016 season as the Vikings’ tight ends coach, finishing the season as the interim offensive coordinator before being hired for the job for the 2017 season.
In his first full season as the offensive coordinator for the Vikings, the team finished in the top-half of the league in yards per game and points per game, just one year after finishing 28th and 23rd in those respective categories. Additionally, Shurmur helped Case Keenum, who started the season as the backup to Bradford, become one of the league’s most accurate passers, and Keenum has led the Vikings all the way to the NFC Championship Game.
The Giants have yet to decide whether Eli Manning will continue to be the starting quarterback for a few more years or if the team will draft a quarterback with the second overall pick in the upcoming draft. In either instance, Shurmur would use his experience working with quarterbacks to improve what was an abysmal passing game for the Giants in 2017.
If the Giants do decide to move on from Eli Manning, Shurmur could also potentially bring Keenum, who will be a free agent following this season, with him to New York. Keenum would have the opportunity to start for at least one more season, and the quarterback the Giants select in the draft would be able to learn from both an accomplished coach and a veteran player who knows how to thrive in that coach’s scheme.
Unfortunately for the Giants, the head coach position is far from the only thing that the team has to address this offseason. Hiring Shurmur will not solve all the team’s problems, but doing so benefits the Giants far more than the hiring of a defensive-minded coach, both in the team’s short-term and long-term plans at quarterback.
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