Patricia was the Giants’ favorite after his interview. The former aeronautical engineer passed on the Giants because of his desire to coach in a smaller media market. Patricia will reportedly accept the Detroit Lions head coach position. Patricia also has a working relationship with Lions general manager Bob Quinn, who spent seven seasons in the Patriots’ front office.
The next choice was Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
McDaniels was considered the next offensive genius after the 2007 Patriots set an NFL record for touchdowns (67 offensive touchdowns total: 50 passing, 17 rushing) and points (589, since broken by the 2013 Denver Broncos). The following season, after the loss to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII, the Patriots went 11-5 with Matt Cassel behind center after Tom Brady was lost for the season.
McDaniels became head coach of the Broncos in 2009. His tenure was less than stellar, going 11-17. McDaniels was fired with four games remaining in the season. He is expected to be named head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.
Pat Shurmur, though not a big, sexy hire, is just the coach the Giants need.
Shurmur is known in NFL circles as a quarterback guru. As a quarterbacks coach with the Philadelphia Eagles, he worked with Donovan McNabb. McNabb had four of his five most productive seasons working with Shurmur. After stints as St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator and head coach of the NFL purgatory known as the Cleveland Browns, Shurmur returned to Philadelphia. He worked with Nick Foles, who had his statistically best season.
As Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator, Shurmur worked with Sam Bradford and Case Keenum. Bradford, an underwhelming former No. 1 overall pick, had his best season with Shurmur. Keenum, who became the starter after Bradford was injured, was 11-3 as the starter with his best statistical season that ended with a loss in the NFC Championship Game.
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If Shurmur can get the best out of Foles, Bradford, and Keenum, it stands to reason he will be able to get the best out of 37-year-old Elisha Nelson Manning. Manning is entering his 15th NFL season and closer to the sunset than sunrise of his career. The Giants also have Davis Webb on the roster and the No. 2 overall pick in April’s NFL Draft. They could select the quarterback who may ultimately succeed Manning as the Giants’ starter.
Taking an offensive coach makes better sense for the Giants. They are in a transitional period with the end of Manning’s career and the beginning of his successor’s whomever that may be. Shurmur’s deal is for five years, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, which means he is invested for the long haul.
If the Giants hired a defensive coach like Patricia, he naturally would bring in his own offensive coordinator. If either Manning or his successor have success, that offensive coordinator would be up for a head coaching position. It would be reminiscent of McDaniels when he left the Patriots to become Broncos head coach after Cassel played well.
Of course, Shurmur will have to do more than just groom a quarterback. The Giants offense as a whole has been abysmal the last two seasons. The team has missed the playoffs in five of the six seasons since winning Super Bowl XLVI. The locker room is need of a serious overhaul. Three defensive players were suspended for conduct last season, which set a franchise record for losses with 13.
McAdoo couldn’t handle the whole weight, which is why he became the first Giants head coach fired in the middle of a season in more than 40 years. The Giants are betting that Shurmur will bring stability and winning. Yes, Shumur was 9-23 as Browns head coach. However, his .281 winning percentage is the fourth highest for a Browns head coach since rejoining the NFL in the 1999 season.
Pat Shurmur has the track record and pedigree to be successful as Giants head coach. Now the work begins. He will join general manager Dave Gettleman at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. before his introduction to the New York media on Friday.
The Giants are in win-now mode (it’s easy to forget one year ago there were an 11-win team) with an eye towards the future. The team is betting Shurmur’s second chance as a NFL head coach is similar to another former Browns head coach getting ready to coach in his eighth Super Bowl.