Pat Shurmur’s name was a hot one on the rumor circuit last offseason. He had prior experience as a head coach and valuable stints as an offensive coordinator for three different teams. Shurmur’s best work might’ve been as the offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings, where he coached up quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Case Keenum to their best seasons as professionals.
Undeniably, Shurmur’s most brilliant masterpiece was orchestrating a Vikings offense that finished 10th in scoring and 11th in yardage en route to winning the NFC North and appearing in the conference championship game. Career years by several Vikings helped launch a new lease on life as a head coach for Shurmur, who took over the New York Giants’ gig in the offseason. But 11 games into it, the Giants are 3-8 and have yet to find their way on the offensive side of the ball.
And because New York is the way it is, some of Shurmur’s poorer decisions are already being amplified … starting with one of his star players:
Odell Beckham: “Knowing they were struggling (with injuries) in the secondary, personally I would’ve loved to attack them. But that wasn’t in our game plan.”
— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoSNY) November 25, 2018
Wait. The Giants had a game plan?
Seriously, though. The Giants had a 19-3 lead at one point against an Eagles secondary featuring ex-Bears Cre’von LeBlanc and Deiondre Hall who were (quite literally) falling over each other and crashing into one another trying to defend the pass. A successful game plan was right there for the taking and Odell Beckham Jr. is right to be disappointed. Shurmur has since tried to downplay criticism, saying Beckham’s dissatisfaction with the game plan was just “one man’s opinion.” Yikes! Passive-aggressive reaction in Year 1 of Shurmur’s coaching regime and just months after Beckham signed a lengthy extension. That seems like a less-than-ideal start for this relationship.
In the end, Beckham has a point. Because even though Eli Manning completed 26 of 37 passes for 297 yards and a touchdown, a sizable chunk of those numbers came in the first half. And it’s not like their best player was getting the ball either, as star rookie Saquon Barkley received just five touches in the second half. Why the Giants didn’t continue to push that envelope is a question Shurmur should have to answer to, though the question shouldn’t come from inside his own locker room.
Now here’s hoping the Bears leave the Giants in despair searching for more answers after Sunday’s game.