The march toward the 2018 season has begun for the New York Giants with Monday’s beginning of the offseason program. New head coach Pat Shurmur had a conference call with the New York media early Monday morning, in which he talked about continuing to forge a relationship with superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., as well as with all his players.
He also talked about the excitement of finally starting to get back to football. Here are a few takeaways from Shurmur’s remarks.
“Not overthinking” the Odell Beckham chatter
Odell Beckham has dominated the the news surrounding previous month or so of the Giants’ offseason. Despite still working his way back from the broken ankle which ended his season, and neither he nor the Giants’ having actually said much of anything, Beckham has been one of the stories for the Giants, and the league as a whole.
So of course the New York Media would ask Shurmur about him when given the chance.
“He is in the building,” Shurmur said, when asked if he’s talked to Beckham yet. “I have not seen him yet, but I know he’s in the building.”
Shurmur will undoubtedly take the opportunity to have a good conversation with Beckham. The Giants’ new coach has stressed the importance of building relationships with his players, and assistants, since his introductory press conference. Shurmur added that he has already had several conversations with Beckham, about football and non-football topics — though he refused to disclose any specifics, preferring to keep them private.
Most of the news regarding Beckham has not, however, concerned his return from injury. Trade rumors have swirled regarding Beckham, and Shurmur was asked whether or not he was worried that they were affecting the young superstar receiver.
“I’m not worried about it,” he said. “I really believe that Odell is a professional and he wants to be great. He understands the importance of the offseason and he’s a competitive guy and, again, we had already started communicating before all that information kind of got out there and was talked about a great deal. He’s a professional and I’m glad he’s here today.”
“I’m not overthinking this,” he continued, when asked if Beckham being in the building was a sign of good faith. “This is the first day of work, this is the first opportunity for all of us to be here together and I think it’s important that Odell is here and I’m looking forward to him getting one day better by being here and I’m looking forward to him inspiring some of his teammates to get better because he’s here and he’s a terrific player and I think we can all learn from one another. Quite frankly, I’m looking forward to the players challenging me to grow, so that we can grow towards some of the things that we were talking about earlier.”
It isn’t all that surprising that Beckham is in the building and has been building a relationship with Shurmur. Contract details aside, he has been excited to work with Shurmur since he was hired.
God really works in mysterious ways....let the journey begin.... I’m geeeked https://t.co/3tbOTPcSl1— Odell Beckham Jr (@OBJ_3) January 15, 2018
And it’s clear from his answers that what Shurmur really wants to do is talk football.
The Pat Shurmur Giants
“It’s exciting,” he said, “and obviously being this is the first opportunity to visit with the players, we just start to formulate our systems and our plans and really our vision for what we want our players to do. I would say this, this is what we as coaches look forward to. I can see as I look out my window here that the grass is starting to green up and the players are around and this is just naturally the time of year where we get back to work. It’s an exciting time for coaches and players, and we’re just looking forward to getting it started.”
With a new head coach comes a new way of doing things. While the Giants returned to the post-season in their first year under Ben McAdoo, some changes he made must have had a positive effect, but given that they immediately plummeted to 3-13, it’s also obvious that quite a few things didn’t work. With Shurmur now at the reins, there will be all new changes for the players who have been in the building for a while.
“I certainly have learned in the last couple of months how things were done in the past and there are some changes that I’ll let them [the players] discuss those with you,” Shurmur said of what changes the players could expect to see. “But, I think what’s important is -- listen, this is a game that we all love to play, most great players love the training aspect of the game and getting better and being a little bit uncomfortable and working through that, and I think that’s part of where we’re at.”
“I think anybody,” he added, “when there is a new coach and a new general manager and some new players, there are some changes that they expect to see, but I think that is probably a better question for them as they move forward. I just think it’s very important that we’re very professional, we communicate well together and then there is going to be a transfer of information. I think we as coaches need to listen to the players, but also teach what we want them to know and then let them tell us what they’re seeing so that we know how we have to teach it further. That’s what we’re looking forward to, is the communication and then watch these guys develop also physically as they go through the weight lifting and the running.”
The existing players will have to get used to a mostly revamped coaching staff, including some former NFL players. While Shurmur doesn’t believe that their backgrounds as players gives them an edge as coaches, he does think it gives the staff a certain amount of cache with the locker room, saying “Well, we all have playing backgrounds. Obviously guys that have played in the NFL that are now career coaches, I think they bring some credibility to the room that the players can really, I guess, hang on to a little bit.”
He added, “The important thing though for an ex-player is they have to decide, they have to cross that bridge between player and coach, and I’m very fortunate that I have some guys here that are now really developed into career coaches, so I’m looking forward to really them working with our players. I think obviously if you coach this game and you’ve developed some credibility as a coach, certainly some of it comes from your days as a player and then it obviously continues your days as you coach through the profession. It’s important and staffs tend to be diverse. We all have different backgrounds and I think it’s important to put together a staff of guys that all come from different places.”