Pat Shurmur is no rocket scientist. He has not been nurtured and developed by Bill Belichick. He does not ooze with charisma, and who the hell knows if he can be a CEO and command the room?
But he is a quarterback whisperer of sorts, Sam Bradford and Donovan McNabb and Nick Foles have sworn by him, and the Giants have Davis Webb and the second pick of the draft, and he has two years of coaching experience with the Browns, which in Dawg Pound years is 10 years, and he sure has something to prove.
But just because he would not command the sex appeal hire of Josh McDaniels doesn’t mean the Giants should not go get him, and go get him now, before they lose him to the Cardinals.
All signs point to Matt Patricia as the next head coach of the Lions, and with McDaniels expected to take the Colts job, there is no time for the Giants to waste.
If GM Dave Gettleman and ownership are high on Shurmur, they must make the move now to lock him up (wink wink) before it’s too late.
Shurmur, as Mike Zimmer’s offensive coordinator, is trying to help Case Keenum and the Vikings get past the Saints on Sunday to the NFC Championship.
Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo told me this about Shurmur last month: “I always thought Pat was an excellent teacher. I used to watch him stand in front of the room, and I just thought he had a great way of feeding the information to the players.”
When Spagnuolo was hired as Rams head coach in 2009, he hired Shurmur as his offensive coordinator, and ironically could work for him now as his defensive coordinator, even after interviewing for the head-coaching position for a second time.
This is what Keenum told me about Shurmur in Sunday’s Q&A: “He’s a great relationship guy. He’s an excellent communicator and it shows in his installation meetings and making sure everyone is on the same page. He trusts his players to do the right thing and we know he trusts us. That does a lot for your confidence.”
Asked why he thinks Shurmur is ready to be a head coach, Keenum said: “I think Pat does a great job of delegating to his other coaches. He trusts the opinions of the assistants and is open to suggestions. He’s willing to look at different solutions to a problem and he is willing to be flexible when it’s needed. I trust his decision-making because he’s smart and I know he has put in the work.”
None of it means Shurmur, 9-23 with the Browns, will be The Next Tom Coughlin. There are no guarantees with Patricia or McDaniels either.
Shurmur was tight ends coach at the start of the Andy Reid Era in Philadelphia, spent 10 years under Reid in a variety of roles, and was interviewed by the Eagles for the job that went to Doug Pederson. He replaced Chip Kelly as interim HC at the end of the 2015 season. So he knows the division. Mike Holmgren hired him as Browns HC.
He was raw in Cleveland. There were clock-management issues and playcalling blunders; he once called timeout before punting on fourth-and-1 from the opposing 41-yard line with 6:38 left and was later forced to go for it on fourth-and-6.
Shurmur won’t win the press conference. Fixing the Giants offense is more important.
Can he command a room of 50-plus men? Who knows? Would he be the right guy? No guarantees. But no guarantees with Patricia or McDaniels or Steve Wilks, either.
The Giants need the courage of their convictions. This is no time for indecision. Pull the trigger if you think he’s the right guy. And pull it before you have no shot at him.