Giants “Settle” For Shurmur

Written by: Glenn Warciski

Like Saints defensive back Marcus Williams who whiffed tackling Vikings WR Stefon Diggs,  the Giants whiffed on the coach they wanted. Instead of having Matt Patricia as the 18th head coach in Giants’ history,  Mara settled for Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.

Before we begin to unpack the Shurmur hire, let us look at what is going on within the Giants’ organization. As we have chronicled here on the New York Giants Underground, chief decision maker John Mara is to blame for the current mess. The Giants, coming off their worst season in franchise history at 3-13, have become the Cleveland Browns of the NFC. What got us to this point? Why did Matt Patricia and Josh McDaniels, the two best coaching prospects, turn down the Giants? This is all on Mara. His unacceptable behavior with how he has treated former coaches and players has led to a blow-back effect.

Back in 2015, with the Giants coming off their third straight losing season, Mara had to make a decision on what he was going to do with his head coach Tom Coughlin and general manager Jerry Reese. Instead of firing both gentlemen for the Giants failures, he fired Tom Coughlin but retained Reese. I had no problem with the firing of Coughlin. It was how Mara behaved. He used Coughlin as a scapegoat for the Giants struggles.  Coughlin, a two-time Super Bowl coach, got discarded like a piece of trash. As this video shows, Coughlin was so angry with Mara’s behavior, he refused to shake his hand after giving his final remarks as the Giants’ head coach.

This is strike one on why we do not have Matt Patricia as head coach.

In this miserable season that just concluded, John Mara was part of a plan hatched by Ben McAdoo and Jerry Reese. It was time to replace Giants living-legend quarterback Eli Manning. Like Coughlin, Eli Manning is responsible for helping the Giants win two Super Bowl trophies. Was Mara correct in his analysis of moving Manning aside and letting another quarterback begin to take over as the starting quarterback? Yes. As we saw with the Tom Coughlin situation, it was the smart decision, but the execution was grossly insensitive and unacceptable.

The Eli Manning benching created a severe firestorm that led to a revolt by fans, culminating with the firings of head coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese. Although Mara denies the firings were not about public relations,  it was actually all about public relations. By firing both gentlemen, the flames of the revolt were extinguished as owner Mara threw McAdoo and Reese under the bus.

This is strike two on why we do not have Matt Patricia as head coach.

This team that former general manager Jerry Reese created is made up of a bunch of misfits. The Giants were at the bottom of the NFL in offense (31st in points scored) and 28th in total defense. As we mentioned earlier, when Coughlin was fired, Mara allowed Reese to cover up his deplorable drafts by overpaying for free agents. This gambit paid off for one season only: 2016. After this year’s tumble and fall, the Giants current roster is devoid of top-notch talent, especially along the offensive and defensive lines.

With a general manager position open, the Giants began their search to find a smart guy to fix this mess, but only four men were interviewed. Three of the four had ties with the New York Giants. Abrams, Ross and Gettleman were the three familiar faces. The outsider was Louis Riddick. There were no other candidates interviewed for the position. Was this GM search a sham? You betcha!

As the decrepit season mercifully ended in late December, more bad press happened for the Giants. Immature cornerback Eli Apple was acting out, and fellow teammate Landon Collins publicly stated on a radio program that Apple was a “cancer.” Another firestorm was brewing, so what does Mara do?  Leaked the word out about Dave Gettleman being the new general manager. The conversation about this wretched team shifted from despair to new hope.

Although we did not like the Gettleman hire, in his introductory presser, he came across as affable and claimed to be a man of action. But Mara promised us more. “Wholesale changes” were going to made after this forgettable season. So far, three figureheads have been chopped. McAdoo, Reese and Marc Ross are the only casualties. Click on the link to the Giants home page. As of the writing of this post, the same people in the front office continue to have jobs.

Strike three on why Matt Patricia is not the head coach of the Giants.

It is my take that Patricia was uncomfortable with the structure and medieval thinking of the Giants’ organization. As head coach, he would not have been able to make the changes needed for the Giants to become successful because the organization is closed-minded.  It starts with the owner John Mara.

On to Shurmur:

Shurmur was listed as one of the top three candidates to become the Giants head coach along with Matt Patricia and Josh McDaniels. But was he their top choice? Gary Myers, as well as the New York Daily News, was reporting last week that Matt Patricia was the top choice, and he would become head coach. Well, this did not happen.

Pat Shurmur is a retread head coach who had his first stint with the Cleveland Browns. His record with the Browns was 9-23. Let’s face it,  nobody wins in Cleveland, not even Bill Belichick, so although this is on Shurmur’s record, we have to consider where he coached. Shurmur, 52, is an old-school mentality who will fit in with the Giants. It is my belief, this hire by Mara harkens back to the late ’70s when his father, Wellington, hired an offensive coordinator and a disciplinarian named Ray Perkins to take over the franchise.

Like with Perkins and George Young, the Giants established a framework of selecting the best players and getting the most out of their players with solid coaching.  Perkins had hired some guys we know today as legends as part of his staff: Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick and Romeo Crennel. At a time when this organization needs a “kick in the ass” (quoting Dave Gettleman),  I believe Mara is going back to an old formula that has worked for the Giants in the past. This current Giants team needs structure and with Gettleman making the personal decisions, and Shurmur, who may not be a tough task master like Perkins, he will provide a plan for this marriage to work.  Perkins got the engine moving in the right direction, and the 21st-century version Shurmur hopefully can do the same.

Other thoughts:

From, writer Eliot Shor-Parks believes Shurmur is a misfire.

Even though Bill Belichick is the best coach in NFL history, he has a coaching tree which is non-existent. Outside of  Eric Mangini, all the other assistants who worked under Belichick have not prospered. This is something to take into consideration. For Belichick’s legacy, it is critically important that McDaniels has success with the second chance he is getting with the Colts. Can our guy Patricia make the graveyard Lions into a success?

Stay tuned.


4 thoughts on “Giants “Settle” For Shurmur

  1. John F January 16, 2018 / 7:52 pm

    Good analysis of the situation Glenn. It is so hard to tell who will be successful as a head coach, especially in New York. I was hoping for Patricia as well, but I am warming up to the idea of Shurmur. I am not sure if he will have the personality to take on the NY metropolitan area but I am impressed with his work with other teams. I like this hire from the standpoint that the Giants are on the cusp of a new quarterback era. Shurmur seems to be a good person at this juncture from that standpoint, including the selection of that quarterback for the future. I am willing to give Shurmur a chance. I do agree that some of the dysfunction in the Giants organization probably scared away both McDaniels and Patricia.


  2. adrian burke January 16, 2018 / 8:33 pm

    Unlike the Maras of the past, John Mara cares little about the team or the fans. He cares only about his inherited fortune.


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