During the week, reports surfaced that New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia was the favorite to the land the head coaching job of the New York Giants.
A lot can change in less than a week.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Sunday that Patricia “is likely” to take the head coaching job of the Detroit Lions, leaving the Giants without their top target. But there is a backup plan.
NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport revealed that Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur “remains a strong candidate” in the Giants’ eyes. Should they lose to the New Orleans Saints in today’s NFC Divisional Round matchup, the Giants could swoop in and make their hire as early as tomorrow.
Shurmur has only 33 games of NFL head coaching experience under his belt and 32 of them came with the Cleveland Browns from 2011-2012 as he compiled a miserable 9-23 record.
The 52-year-old has worked seven years in the league as an offensive coordinator and 2017 might have just been his finest season.
Despite not having his top two quarterbacks in Minnesota as Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford went down with injuries, Shurmur took perennial backup Case Keenum and developed him into a solid game manager while allowing his playmakers like Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs to develop into stars.
While Minnesota’s defense is one of the top units in the league, Shurmur’s work with the Vikings offense is a big reason why they clinched the No. 2 seed in the NFC this season on their way to a 13-3 record.
It looks as though the Giants don’t have a definite mold of what they want in a head coach, though. Seeing as Patricia is a defensive-minded, grind-it-out kind of coach, the Giants’ interest in Shurmur is as close to a 180 as one could get.
Rapoport did add that Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks also remains a “strong candidate,” but it sounds like only if a deal with Shurmur doesn’t come to fruition.