Pat Shurmur is still head coach of the New York Giants. He will be on Sunday vs. the Miami Dolphins when the Giants try to avoid a franchise-worst 10th straight defeat, and probably for the final two games after that.
After that? With each bungled game by Shurmur’s Giants it becomes increasingly difficult to imagine the Giants bringing Shurmur back for a third season.
Thus, I thought it worthwhile to pass along some interesting comments made in recent days by two of the people commonly considered front-runners among candidates to replace Shurmur — Matt Rhule of Baylor and former Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera.
Let’s start with Rhule.
He has now resurrected college programs at Temple and Baylor, and is in demand just about everywhere.
Appearing on the ‘Golic & Wingo Show’ on ESPN Radio earlier this week, Rhule said he has said “absolutely not” when other colleges have tried to entice him to leave Baylor.
Though he called Baylor a “great, great place” and said he is looking forward to seeing if the Bears can take another step forward in 2020, his tune was a bit different when it comes to the NFL.
“I think any time an NFL team has called in the past people always kind of assume that I wanted to go,” Rhule said. “I think when an NFL team calls I think you’re foolish if you don’t at least hear them out or listen to them.”
Rhule fully heard out at least two teams in the past two offseasons. He was a candidate for the Indianapolis Colts job in 2018. Last offseason, he was reportedly ready to become the New York Jets head coach until a dispute arose over whether or not he would have the authority to hire his own assistant coaches.
Rhule coached a single season with the Giants (assistant offensive line, 2012). A New York City native it’s hard to imagine he wouldn’t be tempted by the idea of coaching the Giants, especially after having been ready to accept the Jets job.
Now, what about Rivera?
Rivera went 76-63-1, went to the playoffs four times and the Super Bowl once during his time in Carolina. On the Adam Schefter podcast, Rivera made it clear he won’t take a job just to have a job. He will only take a job where he thinks he can win.
“To me it would be an opportunity to coach a team that has the potential to win,” Rivera said. “There’s a lot of reclamation programs that’ll probably be in play. There’ll also be some teams I think that they’re a good draft away, a couple free agents away from being a really, really good team. That’s what I want. Because when I come back, I want to come back to win. I’m not taking a job to take a job. I’m taking a job because I believe we have a chance to win football games. And that’s what I want.”
That means Rivera would have to believe that GM Dave Gettleman, with whom he worked in Carolina, has given Shurmur talent that hasn’t been maximized. He would have to believe that the Giants as currently constructed should be better than they are and that they are closer to being good than 2-11 would indicate. That maybe a good draft and a couple of correct free agent moves would help the Giants turn the corner.
Does he have that much faith in Gettleman?