The New York Giants finally made Pat Shurmur’s staff of assistant coaches official on Thursday afternoon.
“We’re thrilled to announce our coaches,” Shurmur said. “They’re all excellent people, career coaches, guys who have had success in the profession developing players. We’re excited to have them here at the New York Giants.
“Some of the coaches I have a history with, some were on previous staffs here, and other coaches are guys I’ve known through the profession. I took a good look at some of the coaches that were here, and we certainly wanted to make sure that some of the really fine coaches that were in the building a year ago had an opportunity to stay.”
There were no surprises to the staff. All of the names had been previously reported.
Offensive coordinator — Mike Shula
Quarterbacks — Mike Shula
Running backs — Craig Johnson
Tight ends — Lunda Wells
Wide receivers — Tyke Tolbert
Offensive line — Hal Hunter
Assistant offensive line — Ben Wilkerson
Offensive assistant — Ryan Roeder
Defensive coordinator — James Bettcher
Defensive line — Gary Emanuel
Linebackers — Bill McGovern
Assistant linebackers — Rob Leonard
Defensive backs — Lou Anarumo
Assistant defensive backs — Deshea Townsend
Defensive assistant — Bobby Blick
Special teams coordinator — Thomas McGaughey
Assistant special teams — Anthony Blevins
Now, let’s break it down.
The hiring of Shula as offensive coordinator drew a mixed reaction, as it was known that he was not the first choice for the job. Shula, 52, is a 30-year coaching veteran, 26 as an NFL assistant and four as a head coach at the University of Alabama. He spent the previous seven seasons with the Carolina Panthers, including the last five as offensive coordinator.
Shurmur will call plays.
“I’ve known Mike a very long time,” Shurmur said. “He’s done an outstanding job developing and working with quarterbacks. He was the offensive coordinator of a team that was recently playing in the Super Bowl. They’ve done an excellent job on offense in Carolina. We share a vision in terms of what we want to do offensively. We’re excited that he’ll be with us. He’ll be the offensive coordinator and also work with the quarterbacks.
“He’ll assume all the roles that any offensive coordinator would have, and he’d obviously be in position to call it, if need be.”
Our Dan Pizzuta took a look at how the past schemes of Shurmur and Shula align.
Here is what Bradley Smith of SB Nation’s Cat Scratch Reader told us about Shula:
Aside from the 2015 season, Mike Shula’s time in Carolina was marred with disappointment. One of the biggest problems we had with him was he couldn’t adjust to what the other team was doing during the game. He also is terrible at situational play-calling and can get predictable at times. Panthers fans as a whole pretty much hate him at this point because his lack of play-calling ability hindered the offense so much. To be fair to him, every fan base hates their offensive coordinator and he got a lot of hate that he really didn’t deserve. Even when his play-calls were good, but didn’t work because of bad execution by the players, he still took the blame.
Basically, if the Giants are hiring him to call plays it’s a terrible idea. If they’re hiring him to consult with the play-caller and craft the offense, then it’s a good hire. Shula is creative, and he can make an offense work around the personnel he’s given... as long as you don’t let him manage the situational play calling duties.
My film guys like his offensive scheme. You can look through our film room section on our site and possibly glean some content from there - https://www.catscratchreader.com/carolina-panthers-film-room
The other hire on offense that has drawn scrutiny is that of Hunter to oversee the offensive line. The 58-year-old was out of the league last season. He was most recently offensive line coach of the Cleveland Browns. Hunter coached the previous three seasons (2013-15) for the Indianapolis Colts, serving as assistant offensive line coach for two years before spending his final year as line coach. Prior to his stint in Indianapolis, Hunter spent seven seasons with the San Diego Chargers as assistant offensive line coach (2006), offensive line coach (2007-11) and offensive coordinator/offensive line coach (2012). In all, Hunter has been in coaching for 35 years.
“(With) Hunter, there’s a little bit of a scheme fit,” Shurmur said. “He’s done a good job coaching the offensive line wherever he’s been.”
Wilkerson, 35, is a former NFL player who was assistant offensive line coach with the Chicago Bears the past three seasons.
Tolbert, 50, has been an NFL wide receivers coach for 15 seasons.
Johnson, Wells, and Roeder all worked under both Tom Coughlin and Ben McAdoo. Wells will be getting a promotion, from assistant offensive line coach to being in charge of tight ends.
The hiring of James Bettcher as defensive coordinator has been greeted with enthusiasm. Bettcher, 39, was highly successful in that role for the Arizona Cardinals the past three seasons. He was Cardinals’ outside linebackers coach for two seasons prior to that.
“James coaches a defense that’s hard to score against,” said Shurmur. “He had great success in Arizona, and we’re certainly glad to have him here.”
Former Arizona head coach Bruce Arians considers Bettcher a “rising star” in the coaching profession. Here is what he said about Bettcher last month:
“I look at names that people are throwing out right now [as head coaching candidates],” says Arians, “and I’m shocked that James isn’t amongst them. He is extremely bright, high energy, an excellent communicator. When I first met him at Indianapolis, I knew he was going to be a star.”
Pizzuta broke down what Bettcher’s schemes look like and came away excited about the possibilities:
Even if there’s a brief transition period needed for the full scheme to be put in place, the potential of the end result should make the Giants and their fans incredibly excited. In a general manager and coaching search that’s been fairly paint-by-numbers to this point, the hiring of Bettcher is a welcome development and the play on the field should reward this deviation from the norm.
Emanuel, 59, is a 37-year coaching veteran who spent the previous six seasons as the defensive line coach of the Indianapolis Colts.
Anarumo, a 51-year-old Staten Island native, was the Miami Dolphins’ defensive backs coach from 2012-17.
McGovern, 55, will be in his third season as Giants’ linebackers coach. Prior to joining the Giants, McGovern spent three seasons as the Philadelphia Eagles’ outside linebackers coach. He previously coached for 15 years in two stops at Boston College.
Townsend, 42, had a 13-year career as an NFL players and is entering his fifth season as a pro coach.
Leonard has been with the Giants since 2013 and Blick joined the staff a year ago.
McGaughey, 44, was special teams coordinator for the Carolina Panthers the past two seasons. He was a Giants assistant from 2007-2010.
“I knew Thomas in the profession, and after having a chance to visit with him, I knew it would be a perfect fit here,” Shurmur said.
Blevins, 41, spent the previous five seasons as a coaching assistant/special teams with the Cardinals.
Strength & conditioning
The Giants retained strength and conditioning coach Aaron Wellman and longtime assistant Markus Paul, as well as Joe Danos (performance manager) and Pratik Patel (director of performance nutrition).
Wellman joined the Giants in 2016 as a strength and conditioning coach. Paul has been the team’s assistant strength and conditioning coach since 2007.