One of the things Pat Shurmur brought to the Giants was flexibility. He didn’t simply bring a scheme and a way of doing things, and make everyone else adapt to it. That was part of the downfall of Ben McAdoo. Shurmur, though, is different. Newsday’s Tom Rock writes:
The Giants have what feels like a long heritage of stubbornly sticking with things, whether they be draft picks or veteran players or on-field systems. Even when they hire coaches and general managers, there is almost always something that links them to the team’s past. When you are a 93-year-old franchise, you tend to be a little set in your ways.
Shurmur, though, is unencumbered by all of that heritage. He never even stepped inside the Giants’ facility until after he was hired as coach. He’d never coached in any capacity for the Giants. He knew about them, he’d coached against them, but he was a true outsider. And that perspective allowed him to change things up much more quickly than someone with long-standing ties to the organization might have wanted to or been able to. It allowed the Giants to win on Sunday.
It may even save their season.
Paul Schwartz tells us that while former first-round pick Ereck Flowers bears much of the responsibility for not living up to his draft status, the Giants also share some of the blame. In my view, he has a good point. Schwartz writes:
The Giants over-drafted him in 2015, as he was not worth the No. 9 overall pick. Heck, some in their organization had him as a third-round pick. He projected as a right tackle, where he could use his size and strength, and the Giants wanted to start him out there, but the plan changed when Will Beatty went down for the season. Thus, Flowers as a rookie was inserted at left tackle, where his woeful lack of fundamentals made for a dismal match. His non-communicative ways were difficult to deal with and he was pacified. Pat Flaherty, the offensive line coach for two Giants Super Bowl-winning teams, was fired mostly because he could not get through to Flowers, which was a disgrace and sent an awful message.
There were members of the coaching staff who flat-out believed Flowers could not be fixed. He worked hard, at times, but also grew discouraged. Most of the other offensive linemen had little use for him. No real competition was ever brought in to push him. Flowers was durable, but not reliable. As coaches, Flaherty, Mike Solari and now Hal Hunter — three assistants with a combined 59 years of NFL experience — tried and did not succeed with Flowers. It is a setback for a franchise when it misses on a top-10 pick, but here we are.
The Giants have yet to be impacted by the league’s new overzealousness to protect quarterbacks. They will be at some point, though, and Shurmur understands the difficult situation defenders are being placed in. A hard, clean tackle is seemingly no longer wanted in football — at least not when it is made on a quarterback.
“It’s almost like you can’t hit ‘em with your head, you’re allowed to wrap ‘em up but you can’t scoop ‘em, and you can’t put your body weight on them,” Shurmur said. “Anatomically, this is getting difficult, right?”
Former Giants quarterback Phil Simms on Tuesday supported the Giants’ decision to draft Saquon Barkley and said the play-makers art Eli Manning’s disposal is better than any group he ever played with.
“It’s pretty unbelievable,” Simms told NJ Advance Media by phone Tuesday. “When you think about it. You have Evan Engram, even though I know he’s out for a few weeks, Odell Beckham Jr., then you put Saquon Barkley in that group, and people forget about Sterling Shepard — he’s no shrinking violet, that’s for sure — It might not be the best group Eli’s ever thrown with, but it’s better than any group I ever threw with.It’s up there with a lot of the good teams in the NFL, as far as offensive playmakers.” ...
Simms has little doubt that the Giants made the right decision by adding Barkley, who has already amassed 353 yards from scrimmage and a pair of rushing touchdowns through his first three career games.
”This thing, that you have to draft the heir apparent right away is just another cliche that goes thrown out there,” Simms said. “This year, there’s going to be another good crop of quarterbacks coming out. It’s going to be pretty good. You know what’s going to happen the following year? It’s going to be another good crop of quarterbacks coming out.
“Most of the kids, unless you’re taking Lamar Jackson, most of these quarterbacks are pretty close to being ready to go. So, this thing that they have to hurry up and get the heir apparent -- and what, let him sit there for three years before playing? -- that’ll never happen in this world. That day is over.”