Pat Shurmur
AP Photo

History shows that New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur’s offensive performances usually improve in the second year of his coaching tenures.

When Pat Shurmur was hired to be the New York Giants head coach in January of 2018, many were hoping for a resurgence on the offensive side of the ball. They finished 2017 21st in total yards per game, 26th in rushing yards per game, and 31st in scoring.

The offense absolutely needed work.

However, 2018 only brought five wins for Big Blue, and although the offense was improved, it still wasn’t up to speed with the rest of the NFL. The Giants finished the 2018 season 17th in the NFL in total yards per game, 24th in rushing yards per game, and 16th in scoring.

With wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. no longer a Giant, is this offense in desperation mode?

The answer is no, and there’s a reason to stay optimistic.

Shurmur has worked as the offensive coordinator or head coach for four different pro organizations.

He’s worked as the offensive coordinator for the then-St. Louis Rams, the head coach for the Cleveland Browns, the OC (and interim HC) for the Philadelphia Eagles along with the tight ends coach and OC for the Minnesota Vikings. Statistically speaking, for each of those tenures, Shurmur’s offense improved from year one to year two.

And with an improved offensive line in New York along with numerous weapons across the board for quarterback Eli Manning, who’s to say it won’t happen again with the Giants?

Let’s look at the facts.

Shurmur's Tenure as the St. Louis Rams Offensive Coordinator

Shurmur’s first year as the Rams OC in 2009 was an abysmal one. With veteran QB Kyle Boller among others at the helm, along with HC Steve Spagnuolo, the Rams came away with a 1-15 record. Not to mention they also had one of the worst offenses in the NFL.

St. Louis finished with 279.4 total yards per game (29th in the NFL), 167.9 passing yards per game (28th), 111.5 rushing yards per game (20th) and 10.9 points per game (last). They simply couldn’t put anything together, and despite having Pro Bowl running back Steven Jackson on the roster, the Rams offense was unproductive the entire season.

However, 2010 came along with Shurmur’s offense improving for the most part. The offense wasn’t a playoff-caliber offense yet, but there was an improvement that was made throughout the system.

The Rams finished that season with an improved 302.9 yards per game (26th), 204.2 passing yards per game (21st) and 18.1 points per game (26th). Again, it wasn’t a great organization with a playoff-type roster. However, improvements were made in St. Louis before Shurmur darted for Cleveland to become the new Browns head coach.

Shurmur's Tenure as the Cleveland Browns Head Coach

When Shurmur became the head coach for the Browns in 2011, Cleveland was coming off a year where the offensive was extremely unproductive. They finished the 2010 season 29th in the NFL in yards per game as well as 31st in scoring. Shurmur was brought in as the head coach to manage an offensive set that was desperate for improvement.

Unfortunately, Shurmur’s first year in Cleveland was definitely one to forget.

With Colt McCoy starting at quarterback for much of the year, along with former Madden cover athlete Peyton Hillis at running back, the Browns offense didn’t produce as much as they had hoped they would. Cleveland finished the season with 288.8 yards per game (29th), 193.1 passing yards per game (24th), 95.7 rushing yards per game (28th) and 13.6 points per game (30th).

Shurmur was then retained for the 2012 season when the Browns saw improvement across the offensive side of the ball. They weren’t playoff numbers, but the Browns offense improved, nonetheless.

Cleveland improved in all aspects of the offense, finishing 25th in the NFL in yards per game with 314.2, 19th in passing yards per game with 214.7, 24th in rushing yards per game with 99.6 and 24th in points per game, scoring an average of 18.9.

Shurmur's Tenure as the Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Coordinator

The Eagles proved to be an effective offense when Shurmur took over the role of offensive coordinator for the Eagles in 2013 under Chip Kelly’s staff.

The Eagles put up 417.2 total yards per game (2nd), 256.9 passing yards per game (9th) with Nick Foles at the helm, 160.4 rushing yards per game (1st) with LeSean McCoy, and came in fourth in the league in scoring with an average of 27.6 points per game. Philadelphia finished with a 10-6 record and won the NFC East division.

It didn’t seem like much could be improved for Shurmur and the Eagles the following year. However, there we’re improvements here and there in 2014.

Shurmur’s offense in Philadelphia actually saw an improvement in the 2014 regular season when it came to the air attack and scoring. The Eagles put up 272.2 yards per game (6th) and scored an average of 29.6 points per game (3rd). Despite not making the playoffs that season, Shurmur found his groove in Philadelphia. The Eagles proved to be one of the more faster-paced, higher-scoring offenses in the pros.

Pat Shurmur
ESNY Graphic

Shurmur's Tenure as the Minnesota Vikings Tight Ends Coach and Offensive Coordinator

The Vikings initially brought in Shurmur to be their tight ends coach in 2016. He eventually found himself as the interim offensive coordinator that same season. Coming away with a record of 8-8, it was safe to say the Minnesota offense was mediocre, if not below-average.

The Vikes finished near the bottom of the NFL in numerous categories. They put up 315.1 yards per game (28th), 73.5 rushing yards per game (last), and 20.4 points per game (23rd). The only category that could be seen as somewhat mediocre was their passing game. Minnesota finished 18th in the NFL in that category with 239.8 yards per game.

Shurmur then became the full-time offensive coordinator for the 2017 regular season, where the Vikings offense experienced an absolute resurgence. Minnesota eventually improved each of the four major categories.

The Vikings put up 356.9 yards per game (11th), 234.6 passing yards per game (11th) with Case Keenum at quarterback, 122.3 rushing yards per game (7th) and 23.9 points scored per game (10th). This performance all-year-round helped boost the Vikings to an NFC North title.

What Does it all mean for the Giants in 2019?

Well for one, Giants fans can be optimistic about the offense next season. With a year under their belts, Shurmur and Manning can now get more of a feel for the offensive system. The trade of Beckham can also be beneficial in some ways. Manning will now be forced to spread the field, which could be an effective strategy for the Giants offense.

Manning will now have receivers Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate, along with tight end Evan Engram.

And as far as the running game? Yeah, don’t forget they have that Saquon Barkley kid.

Statistically speaking, look for improvement throughout the entire offensive side of the ball for Big Blue in 2019.

Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.