NFL 2018: Will Pat Shurmur Be Able to Thrive Under a (New York) Giants Shadow?

odell beckham jr2

The good news, Pat Shurmur is the new head coach of the New York Giants.

The bad news, cannot be condensed into one statement: let’s see, the Giants organization has somehow become the dysfunctional New York team we want to hear about; one owner slides very close to be the poster boy for hypocrisy; their ‘franchise’ quarterback, after 210 consecutive starts as a Giant was benched for Geno Smith; and now after trading Jason Pierre-Paul to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a third and fourth round pick in this year’s draft, there are questions as to the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr..

Welcome to New York Coach Shurmur!

But really there is no where to go but up for the Giants organization?  Shurmur is the man that enhances quarterbacks.  He made Case Keenum, the Minnesota Vikings third string quarterback at the time  a playoff contender. Don’t forget this was Shurmur’s first full season as the Vikings offensive coordinator.  He moved the offense from a what if, to one step away from the Super Bowl with a journeyman quarterback, who ended the season with a 98.3 passer rating.

In 2013, Shurur was the offensive coordinator for Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles.  The quarterback then was Nick Foles.  In that season with Shurmur, Foles threw for 27 touchdowns and two interceptions.  On their way to the NFC East title, the offense set team records for touchdowns, passing yards and fewest turnovers.

In 2009, Shurmur was offensive coordinator for the then St. Louis Rams.  In 2010, the Rams drafted quarterback Sam Bradford as their first overall pick.  Bradford won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year that year.  He also set the NFL rookie record for completions, while passing for 3512 yards.  But can Shurmur  bring these miracles to the Giants?

Last season, quarterback Eli Manning  collected 19 touchdowns on 13 interceptions and was sacked 31 times before being benched one game for Geno Smith.  Running back Orleans Darkwa rushed for 751 yards with five touchdowns and one fumble.  Darkwa averaged 4.4 yards a carry.  And the highest producing wide receiver was Sterling Shepherd with 59 receptions on 84 targets.  He finished with 731 receiving yards and two touchdowns.  But the tight end Evan Engram found the end zone twice as many times as any other receiver with six touchdowns.  None of these stats make Giants’ fan base tingle with pride.  Enter Shurmur.

Conversely, with journeyman Keenum at the helm, Shurmur orchestrated the Minnesota Vikings offense to: 10th in points per game; seventh in rushing yards per game, averaging 122.3 yards per game,; 11th in passing yards per game, with a 234.6 average; and third in third down conversions.  It was good.  And don’t forget that from 2011-2012 Shurmur was head coach for the Cleveland Browns.  He led the Browns to a 9-23 record, which in retrospect is pretty darn good, considering they have one win in the last two seasons.  But Shurmur understands that the good times may have come to a stop.  At his press conference, Shurmur stated, ” I am looking forward to getting to work with Dave Gettleman and Kevin Abrams and starting the process to once again build a championship team.

New York is not known for its depth of patience.  Building a winning team is not what the fan base is in for, winning now is the New York way.  Perhaps, winning and building “a championship team” can exist simultaneously?

New York Giants and head coach Pat Shurmur

  • Hiring of Mike Shula as offensive coordinator.  By all accounts Shula wasn’t the first choice, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Yes, Shula was fired from the Carolina Panthers last season, but this offense will not possess the challenges that the Panthers offense did.   And more importantly, it appears Shula is here for his creativity, not to call offensive plays.
  • Yes, their free agent losses have more name recognition than most of their free agent acquisitions, but that isn’t all bad:

Free Agent Losses                                                                                                                   Free Agent Acquisitions

CB Ross Cockrell: 2017 50 combined tackles 13 assists, 3 interceptions1                                      CB Curtis Riley: 2017 12 combined tackles; 4 assists; 1 interception

CB Dominique Rogers-Cromartie: 2017 48 combined, 17 assists, .5 sacks                                    CB B.W. Webb: did not appear in a game in 2017; played for 5 teams in 5 years

LB Devon Kennard: 2017 41 combined tackles, 17 assists, 4 sacks                                                  LB Kareem Martin: 24 combined, 6 assists, 1 sack,  1 interception

DE Jason-Pierre Paul: 2017 68 combined, 20 assists, 8.5 sacks                                                      DE Josh Mauro: 2017 22 combined, 7 assists, 1 sack

G D.J. Fluker                                                                                                                                                G Patrick Omameh

G Justin Pugh

C Weston Richburg                                                                                                                                       OT Nate Solder

WR Cody Latimer: 2017 19 receptions, 287 yards, 2 touchdowns

As with most things in the NFL it is all about schemes and personnel.  So the defensive acquisitions could see improvement in a defensive scheme that favors their abilities.  Webb could shine in the secondary or as a special team gem, it is in how the Giants choose to play their new additions.  Speaking of new additions, the Giants also have a chance to combine their rebuild with winning by winning the 2018 NFL draft.  This year they have the second overall pick in each of the first five rounds.

Giants 2018 NFL Draft position

Round 1, pick #2

Round 2,  pick # 34

Round 3, pick #66

Round 4, pick #102

Round 4, pick #135

Round 5, pick #139

Round 6, pick #176

So you see, for head coach Shurmur, the shadow the New York Giants seem bent on casting may be just the right amount of cover to see Shurmur shine.

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