Pat Shurmur, who as offensive coordinator helped the Minnesota Vikings go 13-3 despite losing quarterback Sam Bradford and running back Dalvin Cook to season-ending injuries, is expected to become head coach of the New York Giants, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
If the report is correct, this will be Shurmur’s second NFL head-coaching opportunity. He went 9-23 during a two-year stint as head coach of the Cleveland Browns in 2011 and 2012.
The Giants also interviewed Steve Spagnuolo, Matt Patricia, Josh McDaniels, Steve Wilks and Eric Studesville to replace the fired Ben McAdoo.
Here is what Christopher Gates of SB Nation’s Vikings web site, Daily Norseman, told us about Shurmur:
Shurmur was originally brought in to be the Vikings’ tight ends coach prior to the start of the 2016 season. When Norv Turner unexpectedly retired midway through the season, Mike Zimmer elevated him to the offensive coordinator job. He had some familiarity with quarterback Sam Bradford, having worked with him in both St. Louis (where Bradford won Offensive Rookie of the Year) and again in Philadelphia.
It was a rough transition for the Vikings, going from Turner’s power running, chuck it deep system to Shumur’s more ... shall we say “modern” ... offense. The fact that the Vikings’ offensive line was a complete disaster in 2016 didn’t help matters either. But, thanks to a year in the system and a couple of offensive line upgrades, the Minnesota offense made a huge jump under Shurmur in 2017. Despite losing Sam Bradford after the first week of the season and star rookie running back Dalvin Cook in Week 4, the Vikings’ offense jumped from 23rd to 10th in scoring and from 28th to 11th in yardage.
Shurmur is going to get a bit of a bad rap from his first stint as an NFL head coach, as he was the coach in Cleveland for two years and went 9-23. But, given the state that Cleveland has been in for much of the recent past, it’s hard to hold that against him. He’s a solid coach that probably deserves another opportunity to be the man in charge.
The Arizona Cardinals were also interest in hiring Shurmur.
Shurmur, 52, is a veteran NFL coach. He has been an offensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams (2009-10), Philadelphia Eagles (2013-15) and the Vikings, where he took over that role midway through the 2016 season when Norv Turner resigned from the job.
Shurmur has been lauded for his work with quarterbacks. He was quarterbacks coach in Philadelphia with Donovan McNabb. The Rams won seven games with Shurmur guiding Bradford through his rookie season. He won nine games in Cleveland with Colt McCoy and Braden Weeden. In 2013, Eagles’ QB Nick Foles had a career year, throwing 27 touchdown passes to two interceptions and going to the Pro Bowl. This season, journeyman Case Keenum played the best football of his six-year career and went 11-3 as a starter in the regular season.
With the Giants, Shurmur will be tasked with fixing a broken offense. The Giants have not scored 30 points in a game since the final game of the 2015 season when Tom Coughlin was still the head coach. They have finished in the bottom quarter of the league in yards and points in each of the last two seasons.
The Giants, of course, have quarterback questions. Eli Manning is nearing the end of his decorated career, and whether or not he returns for the 2018 season is something Shurmur will certainly have a large say in. There is 2016 third-round pick Davis Webb. There is the fact that the Giants have the No. 2 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and could use that on their quarterback of the future. There has also been speculation that Shurmur would like to bring Keenum, a free agent, with him.
The offense, of course, isn’t the only issue Shurmur has to address. The defense under-achieved in 2016. Spagnuolo actually hired Shurmur as his offensive coordinator with the Rams. Will Shurmur return the favor and keep Spags, or will he look at the reality that the Giants’ defense has been poor in two of Spagnuolo’s three seasons as coordinator and find someone else?
Shurmur, if he does indeed become head coach, also faces the challenge of rebuilding a winning culture in a locker room that fell apart in 2017 under the weight of a disappointing season.
The Vikings face the Philadelphia Eagles this weekend in the NFC Championship Game. The Giants can’t officially hire Shurmur until the Vikings are done playing.
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