It has come to this for the 2-7 New York Giants. Coach Pat Shurmur is sounding like, and taking pages from the coach-under-fire playbook of, Ben McAdoo, who was fired 12 games into the Giants’ 3-13 season in 2017.
“I’m built for this,” Shurmur said on Thursday when questions arose about his job security and his struggling team. “I know that we’re on the right path. I know we’re a few plays away from getting over the top. We can build on that.”
This is what McAdoo said on Nov. 15 two years ago, just weeks before losing his job:
“I’m built for this. A calm doesn’t suit me. A storm does. Tougher it gets, the better I’m going to get. The better I expect this team to get down the stretch.”
A few weeks later, McAdoo was gone.
Shurmur doesn’t seem to be in the imminent danger McAdoo was in as things obviously unraveled in 2017. Players were in open revolt against a coach who had built a coaches vs. players attitude, had not done enough to build relationships and began, when things went south in 2017, to try and impose discipline that hadn’t previously been part of his repertoire. Shurmur has better relationships with players, and at this point still appears to have them playing hard. As Carl Banks said, giving “winning effort” while performing with “losing execution.”
This week, though, Shurmur has apparently cut music from practice. He has reportedly told players that playing time will be lost if mistakes in assignments continue. The ping pong and corn hole games are gone from the locker room.
Shurmur has not yet lost this team, but there are danger signs. Veterans are growing weary, wondering when their young teammates will begin to make progress. Rookies haven’t appeared to be getting better, and in some cases (ahem, DeAndre Baker) don’t appear certain what it is they are being asked to do — or how to do it.
Second-year players like Will Hernandez, B.J. Hill, Lorenzo Carter and even Saquon Barkley don’t appear to be taking the big steps forward that are hoped for from second-year players.
The Giants desperately need to a victory on Sunday over the New York Jets. That won’t fix all of their problems. It would, though, stop the bleeding heading into the bye week abd perhaps give them time to make some honest self-evaluations.