Pat Shurmur might not have been the top choice, but I do believe he will prove to be the right choice for the Giants.
On Friday, the Giants introduced their 18th head coach in franchise history. Pat Shurmur takes over a team that had a disastrous year in 2017 that brought about household changes and ushered in the Shurmur era. He has a vast amount of experience as an NFL coach, having served many different roles over the course of 19 years. His success this season with the Minnesota Vikings as their offensive coordinator put him back on the wheel as a head coach candidate.
Of the six candidates that were interviewed, he was the last man standing. Even though he reportedly was not the Giants first choice, he is their head coach moving forward having inked a five-year contract. The length of the contract shows the commitment the Giants have made to him and also the confidence that have in him as well.
You had to have liked what you heard from Shurmur on Friday. He showed a personality that some questioned whether or not he had. He also made it perfectly clear that this a business and he will not tolerate anyone that gets in the way of trying to win football games. He showed a strength and power in his words that was reminiscent of Tom Coughlin. He wanted to make it perfectly clear that Eli Manning was the starting quarterback and also showed a willingness to work with wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Just like when GM Dave Gettleman was introduced by the Giants, he made it a point to cut the dogged storylines off at the knees. Manning will be the starting quarterback and they both look at Beckham Jr. as part of the solution and not the problem.
In reference to his failed past experience as head coach with the Cleveland Browns, Shurmur said he “wished he knew then what he knows now.” I think it is unfortunate when we determine whether or not someone can do a job based on just one failed opportunity in the past. You give Shurmur a ton of credit for rebuilding himself as a coach, which afforded him this opportunity. Shurmur, will be better off for that failed experience in Cleveland.
Plus, I do believe that there is now a symmetry between the front office and the head coach on the field. They look at football and winning football much the same way. A lot of the similar messaging that Gettleman hammered home in his introductory press conference was cemented by Shurmur on Friday. You did get a sense that along with winning, that bringing back a sense of Giants Pride is atop the priority list. Both Shurmur and Gettleman will look to work together to make the Giants a consistent winner once again.
I know Gettleman said Shurmur is every bit of an adult and the Giants needed that moving forward. I believe what he meant by that was he needed a leader in that position, that was going to freshen up the coaching staff and also get the respect of the players that he is coaching. The Giants needed a stronger presence to lead them on the field moving forward and I think Pat Shurmur is that figure. Certainly, there are roster issues, most notably the offensive line. Certainly, chemistry is an issue as we all watched the Giants locker room fall apart as the losses mounted in 2017. He certainly has some issues that need to be resolved, but he seems to be adept at handling the challenge.
I know, it is just the introductory press conference. Ultimately, you are right. No matter how good the new leadership for the Giants comes across during a press conference, they will ultimately be judged by how they do during the season. But, you can rest easy knowing that they have two highly motivated individuals that learned from previous stops in same positions for an organization that is highly motivated to put an embarrassing 2017 season behind them.
Pat Shurmur might not have been the top guy, but he will be the right guy in the end.