The problem with hiring the hot coordinator is it’s rarely clear if they can succeed on the next rung of the ladder. You’re dealing with a lot more than calling plays as a head coach. Sometimes the head coach is so busy with everything else he has give up play-calling, which is how he got the job in the first place.
That’s what happened with Ben McAdoo. Calling the offense and running a team seemed to become too much for him, and he did neither well by the end of his short tenure with the New York Giants. The Giants hope there’s not a repeat coming with Pat Shurmur.
As was reported before the Minnesota Vikings were eliminated from the playoffs, Shurmur is the Giants’ next head coach. He was officially hired on Monday. Shurmur had a fine season as the Vikings offensive coordinator, and in general he has been a very good offensive coach. He’s well respected and clearly deserved a shot with the Giants. But it doesn’t come without some risk.
The one time Shurmur got to be a head coach he went 9-23 with the Cleveland Browns in 2011-12. That might just be because it’s the Browns. Every coach has failed with the Browns since they came back to the NFL. The current coach of the Browns, Hue Jackson, is 1-31 with them. But it’s also possible Shurmur is a great coordinator and not a good head coach. There are plenty of coaches like that in the NFL, and there’s nothing wrong with it. We just don’t know yet.
Shurmur has his challenges. The New York market can be fierce. The Giants seemed to fall apart in the locker room last season, as they lost game after game. He’ll have to fix that right away. The good news is he should get time to establish his program, because the Giants have a long track record of patience at head coach and general manager. Shurmur will get time, as long as he’s not a debacle along the lines of McAdoo or Ray Handley.
It does seem like the right fit. The Giants need a boost on offense, and Shurmur was marvelous in turning Case Keenum and the Vikings’ offense into one of the most efficient in the NFL. The Vikings were not good as they got blown out in the NFC championship game, and that might give Giants fans some nervous moments. But overall, Shurmur has a good track record as an assistant, and having the experience of being a head coach certainly could help in his second opportunity.
“I can’t wait to start working with Pat,” new Giants general manager Dave Gettleman said in a statement. “I know he will provide the type of leadership we need to take our team back to where it belongs. I have followed Pat’s career for many years, and he has had great success wherever he has been. What struck me during our conversation is that being the head coach of the New York Giants is not too big for him. He is made for this moment and this opportunity.”
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