White you want for Friday’s introductory press conference for Pat Shurmur, new coach of the New York Giants, here is this week’s “Friday Five” with Pat Traina. Shurmur, Eli Manning and Ereck Flowers are among this week’s topics.
Question: The hiring of Pat Shurmur -- right move or wrong move?
Pat: Time will only tell, of course, but I love the hiring for numerous reasons. First, you need to remember that the Giants offense has been broken for a while now, and Shurmur has shown he has the experience to fix that.
When you consider that a revamped offensive line is coming in and that ultimately a young quarterback is going to need to be groomed, Shurmur’s history is key.
But here’s something I think people who wanted say Matt Patricia or Steve Wilks overlook. While I think they will be fine head coaches, they would have had to turn over the offense to a coordinator and the quarterback development to a quarterbacks coach. Well, assistant coaches, as we are seeing every year, move on for better opportunities.
At least with Shurmur, you have a guy who isn’t going anywhere for a while (unless he’s fired, which we hope won’t be the case). The Giants finally have a chance to get some continuity on the offensive side of the ball as far as scheme and development. That’s something they haven’t had of late given the switch from Coughlin to McAdoo and now to Shurmur dating back to 2015.
With Shurmur, hopefully, they can build up continuity and get consistency and production.
2. When we spoke with Emory Hunt on the ‘Big Blue Chat’ podcast he expressed the view that Ereck Flowers should remain at left tackle. Agree or disagree? Why?
Pat: I tend to agree — reluctantly. Why? First, I’m not sure there will be an instant upgrade available. Yes, Nate Solder is going to be out there, but the Giants aren’t in a position, based on the numbers I’ve been crunching at least, to spend a chunk of their cap space on one player. And right now, the early word on the offensive tackle draft class is lukewarm, though that depends on whose opinion you believe.
Here is the biggest reason why I think Flowers will stay at left tackle, and I believe Emory pointed this pointed this out as well int he podcast. It’s highly unlikely a rookie is going to come in and be better than Flowers, who believe it or not, did make a little progress last year (yeah, I know, but he did, though I wouldn’t say he made a tremendous leap).
The other thing is that now that it appears the Giants have committed to Manning as their quarterback for 2018, that tells me they think they are looking to reload rather than rebuild. If that’s the case, then you want an experienced offensive line in front of him.
3. Shurmur will be the offensive play-caller. Are you concerned about that after Ben McAdoo failed while trying to both do that and run a team?
Pat: No. The difference with McAdoo was that he wasn’t an experienced play caller; Shurmur is. Also, McAdoo was a rookie head coach who really only knew one way of doing things (the Packers way) whereas Shurmur has accumulated experience from other career stops.
Here’s the other thing. McAdoo was 39 when he got the head coaching job and I don’t think he was really equipped to handle the valleys that came with the job. Shurmur is 52, and I think he’s going to be seen as more of a father figure, much like Coughlin was.
You also have to remember the reason why Shurmur was unsuccessful in Cleveland as his own play-caller was because of the lockout which prevented him from working and teaching the players until training camp. So you have a different set of circumstances today which SHOULD allow for success, but again, time will tell.
4. James Bettcher is expected to be the defensive coordinator. He ran a 3-4 in Arizona. Whether it’s a base 3-4 or 4-3 his defenses tended to be “positionless,” with players moving around. Which Giants can you see thriving in that kind of system?
Pat: I think right off the bat, Olivier Vernon, whom I can see lining up more as a OLB, would be one.
I think Landon Collins can probably benefit as well — he’s a guy who was being asked to do a lot of different things anyway, so he has apparently shown the necessary football IQ to pull it off.
5. The Giants are committed to Eli Manning for 2018. What is your assessment of Manning at this point, and can the Giants still win with him?
Pat: I’m working on an analysis as I write out these answers as I want to take a closer look at this question. My gut says yes, only because for the last several years, former general manager Jerry Reese and former VP of Player Evaluation Marc Ross haven’t done right by Manning as far as putting quality pieces around him.
Look at the offensive line — how long did it take for them to start rebuilding the offensive line? I believe they really got started on this in 2013, well after what was left of that great offensiveline from 2007 had every last drop of juice squeezed out of its members.
And aren’t we still waiting for a running game that strikes fear into the opposition’s heart?
Last year they finally got a tight end (Evan Engram) but hey, what took them so long to replace Kevin Boss and Jake Ballard, two Super Bowl-winning tight ends? And other than Odell Beckham Jr., who has Manning had to throw to prior to 2017 that really warranted double coverage?
To be clear, Manning is not the same player he was in 2007 or in 2011 for that matter. But I do think he has enough juice left in his body to go another year or two at the most and win if the talent around him is upgraded.
Head over to Inside Football for my answers to these same questions.