Meet a Head Coach Candidate: Vikings Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur
For the third time since 2013, the Chicago Bears are looking for a head coach. The ideal candidate is someone who can stabilize the position, hire a top-notch coaching staff, keep the defense performing at a high level, bring the offense up to speed, and ultimately, win a Super Bowl. It’s a lot to ask, but someone could be up to the task.
With those characteristics in mind, we’re going to take a look at each of the candidates the Bears plan on interviewing leading up to the announcement of a new head coach.
Previously: George Edwards, Vikings Defensive Coordinator
Name, Current Team, Position
Pat Shurmur, Minnesota Vikings, Offensive Coordinator
NFL Coaching Experience
- 1999-2001 Philadelphia Eagles (Tight Ends/Offensive Line)
- 2002-08 Philadelphia Eagles (Quarterbacks)
- 2009-10 St. Louis Rams (Offensive Coordinator)
- 2011-12 Cleveland Browns (Head Coach)
- 2013-14 Philadelphia Eagles (Offensive Coordinator)
- 2015 Philadelphia Eagles (Offensive Coordinator/Interim Head Coach)
- 2016 Minnesota Vikings (Tight Ends/Interim Offensive Coordinator)
- 2017 Minnesota Vikings (Offensive Coordinator)
- 1999-2008 Andy Reid
- 2009-10 Steve Spagnuolo
- 2013-15 Chip Kelly
- 2016-17 Mike Zimmer
- 2011-12 Brad Childress (Offensive Coordinator)
- 2011-12 Dick Jauron (Defensive Coordinator)
Starting Quarterbacks Coached as Head Coach/QBs Coach/Offensive Coordinator
Donovan McNabb (2002-08), A.J. Feeley (2002, 2007), Koy Detmer (2002, 2004), Mike McMahon (2005), Jeff Garcia (2006), Marc Bulger (2009), Kyle Boller (2009), Keith Null (2009), Sam Bradford (2010, 2015-17 ), Colt McCoy (2011), Seneca Wallace (2011), Brandon Weeden (2012), Thaddeus Lewis (2012), Nick Foles (2013-14), Mike Vick (2013), Mark Sanchez (2014-15), Shaun Hill (2016)
Hey, It Might Work…
As someone who believes in second chances, I’m obliged to at least listen to Shurmur’s case for his second NFL head coaching gig. And to be fair, it’s a pretty decent one. Shurmur’s coaching career started at Michigan State in 1988 and began his coaching journey in the NFL in 1999. He is arguably the most experienced offensive mind among the coaching candidates having served as an offensive coordinator for three different teams after coaching quarterbacks, tight ends, and offensive linemen.
Shurmur’s best work has come in his two seasons with the Vikings. Third-string quarterback Case Keenum had a career year throwing to a fifth-round pick (Stefon Diggs) and an undrafted free agent (Adam Thielen) as the Diggs-Thielen duo has developed into one of the league’s most potent receiving tandems. Minnesota put forth a balanced attack with the rushing duo of Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon, combining for 1,412 rushing yards and 13 total touchdowns. To do all this after losing stud rookie running back Dalvin Cook and two starting quarterbacks (Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Bradford) says a lot about Shurmur’s ability to scheme against opponents and get the most out of the players at his disposal.
OK, Maybe He’s Not The One…
Shurmur has head coaching experience and knows everything that goes into the demanding position. HOWEVER, that experience wasn’t all that great as Shurmur went 9-23 in two seasons with the Browns. His offense averaged 16.3 points per game in those two seasons. In his defense, his starting quarterbacks in those two years were Colt McCoy, Seneca Wallace, Brandon Weeden, and Thaddeus Lewis. Good luck winning with those guys.
The Andy Reid Coaching Tree has plenty of branches, but it doesn’t guarantee future success. John Harbaugh, Ron Rivera, Doug Pederson, and Sean McDermott are active and have winning records and have led their respective teams to the postseason. On the other hand, Shurmur, Brad Childress, Steve Spagnuolo, Leslie Frazier, and Todd Bowles combined for three winning seasons in the 17 years.
In The End …
Shurmur might be the perfect mix of everything the Bears should be looking for in a head coach. He has a knack for getting the most out of his players, a history developing quarterbacks, and a background of committing to the run. After all, the Bears are in a position to be a run-first team with Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen running behind what will (hopefully) be a healthy offensive line next season. If the Bears can find balance in their offense to go with a top-10 defense, a turnaround could be on the horizon.
He isn’t the sexiest candidate out there, but he might be the best fit.