How the New York Giants fare in the final eight games of the season will determine whether or not Pat Shurmur will be head coach in 2019.
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY—At 1-7 on the season, all the New York Giants can play for is pride. Part of pride is each man attempting to show ownership that he can, indeed, be part of the rebuilding process.
This was not the fate co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch, along with general manager Dave Gettleman envisioned at the beginning of the season after making what they thought would be significant upgrades in the offseason.
The Giants made Nate Solder the highest paid left tackle in NFL history, and signed guard Patrick Omameh to a lucrative deal with the hopes that a revamped offensive line could bring out the best in whatever Eli Manning had left in the tank.
It’s safe to say that Manning, Solder and Omameh have all underperformed this season.
The Giants also traded for linebacker Alec Ogletree with the thought that he would give them a Pro Bowl-caliber linebacker they haven’t had since Antonio Pierce.
Other free agent acquisitions were added to the roster with the hope that the team could contend for the playoffs.
But instead, the Giants are in the same exact position they were last season. In many ways, the 2018 season is more disappointing than 2017 considering many of the woes from last season were due to the receiving core being decimated by injuries.
Most of the blame has to go to ownership and Gettleman for over-evaluating the talent of this roster. But much of the blame has to also go to head coach Pat Shurmur who has not brought out the best in his players.
You can’t dispute Shurmur’s credentials as an offensive coordinator especially with what he did with the Minnesota Vikings and quarterback Case Keenum, helping them reach the NFC Championship game. Due to the success the Vikings offense enjoyed last season, Shurmur was named the AP Assistant Coach of the Year.
But there are serious doubts on whether or not he’s got the chops to be a head coach. Shurmur’s record as a head coach is now 11-30 and that’s a glaring record for a coach that you’re banking on to turn around a franchise.
One of the reasons the Giants hired Shurmur as coach was because they felt he could revive an offense that averaged 15.4 points a season ago. But the offense is struggling, as the team has just 14 touchdowns in eight games. The Giants have been particularly bad in the red zone.
Early this week, Shurmur was asked about the Giants offensive woes.
“It comes down to points. When you look at it, if we score one more touchdown a game, then for the people that crunch numbers, that’s a good thing, and for the people that crunch numbers, that puts us in a position to win half those games we played. Scoring in the red zone is an important thing when we get down there, and there are tactical things that we need to do better.
“Then there are certainly things that players can do better. Those are the things you look at, you think of the situations in the games, the players you have in the games available, how you’re trying to get the ball to certain people, so you go back and revisit that and do it at a pace where it’s much slower than if you were getting ready to play a game.”
Coming off a bye week, there’s no excuse for the team to come out flat on Monday night against the San Francisco 49ers. In fact, if Shurmur hasn’t lost the locker room, we should see their best effort since their Week 3 victory over the Houston Texans.
How the team fares on Monday night will be a good barometer to what we can expect in the second half of the season. If they get blown out then we’re in for a very long and brutal final stretch of the season.
The Mara family has always taken pride in the team playing meaningful and competitive games at the end of the season. If the team continues on their losing path, then Shurmur might be a one-and-done coach with the Giants.
It’s never good to replace a coach after one season, but Shurmur has to show he has what it takes to motivate his team and bring out the best in them.
In 2019, we’ll see several different faces on the New York Giants roster including quarterback, and if the team doesn’t chalk up some wins in the remaining eight games of this season, we’ll see a new coach as well.