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What does a Pat Shurmur offense look like? Giants’ coach isn’t really sure

NFL: Washington Redskins at New York Giants Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Co-owner John Mara said Friday that when the New York Giants were searching for a head coach “It did not matter to any of us whether it was an offensive or a defensive coach.”

Still, the Giants had one of the worst offenses in the NFL during Ben McAdoo’s two-year reign of error. The Giants have not scored 30 points in a game since the 2015 season finale, 34 games ago.

The Giants hired Pat Shurmur as head coach, an offensive guy with a well-earned reputation for being successful with a variety of quarterbacks.

What then, will a Shurmur offense look like?

Shurmur couldn’t really answer that question during his introductory press conference on Friday.

Asked to describe a Pat Shurmur offense, the new Giants’ coach said: “I don’t know.”

That, honestly, is a good thing.

The Giants spent the last two seasons in a singular, limited offense. McAdoo learned one offensive system with the Green Bay Packers. When it worked, great. When it didn’t, McAdoo never really showed a fallback plan. He had nothing else in his bag of tricks. When he was the offensive coordinator and Tom Coughlin was head coach Coughlin’s influence perhaps led to a bit more variety in the offensive approach. Left to his own devices, McAdoo fell back time and again on the single thing he knew and believed in.

Shurmur’s offensive influences include a variety of highly-regarded offensive coaches with vastly different styles. Shurmur has worked with Andy Reid, Norv Turner, and Chip Kelly, and his offense is really an amalgamation of everything he has been exposed to.

“I think we have an offense that we’re going to constantly try to do the things that our players can do well. So once we quickly learn what our players are good at, then we’ll ‑‑ but I do have a West Coast background,” Shurmur said. “My last three years in Philadelphia, I was with Chip Kelly, and so the tempo and being able to play fast, there’s advantages to using that strategically. When you can run the ball like we did this year, and we developed a core set of runs, then the play actions are meaningful and that’s how you can drive the ball down the field. So try to use all those things. And then when they’re trying to destroy our quarterback, certainly the screen game is something that’s very important.

“So I don’t know. I don’t know if there’s a label for it. We want to play good offense. We want to play New York Giants offense.”

In New York, Eli Manning will be the quarterback. Odell Beckham Jr., Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard will be the primary targets.

Shurmur indicated that communicating with his players, especially the quarterback, is a key component.

“I think what’s important is, you know, we’re all sort of what we believe and what our experiences tell us, and so I think what’s important when you’re talking with players that have had success, sit down and start to communicate – here’s the things that they did well, here’s the things that I believe in, and let’s do the things that work best for us,” Shurmur said.

He also indicated that both he and GM Dave Gettleman agree that “Everything starts with the offensive line,” an obvious area of concern for the Giants in recent years.

Final thoughts

Hmmm ...

  • Varied approaches
  • Shaping the offense around what the players do best
  • Running the ball
  • Utilizing play-action and the screen game
  • Building a solid offensive line

None of that is rocket science. It is simply sound football. What a concept!