After several questionable decisions in the New York Giants’ loss to the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, fans have the right to want Pat Shurmur fired.
Patience is a virtue. But patience without results is plain stubbornness. Anybody calling for Shurmur’s job has every right to do so at this point.
Down three points with a 3rd and 18 on their own 27-yard line with 3:18 left to play, Shurmur called a draw play, resulting in a three-yard run. Instead of punting on fourth down and flipping field position, Shurmur decided to go for it on 4th and 15 from the Giants 30.
The call would prove disastrous, as Patrick Peterson sacked Daniel Jones on a corner blitz that forced a fumble, recovered by Arizona. New York’s defense would hold Arizona to three points, but New York would turn it over on downs on their final possession, ultimately losing, 27-21.
After the game, everyone expected Shurmur to take the blame for the poor decisions. Instead, it felt as if he shifted the blame to his players.
“It played out exactly how I would have hoped,” Shurmur said of the questionable play calling. “Those runs, they actually ran the same type of run against us and got it. I had planned to go for it, and we just didn’t execute the play as well as we would’ve liked and that’s what happened.”
Sure, the Giants did not execute the play Shurmur dialed up, but almost anyone with some level of knowledge about the game of football knows that this was a bad play call. Instead of simply saying “that’s on me” or “that wasn’t the right call” Shurmur passed the blame to his players who were put in a bad spot by his mistake.
With a loss that Shurmur deserves much of the blame for his record as head coach of the New York Giants is now a woeful 7-16. That brings his carer head coaching record to 16-39 when sprinkling in his two seasons as head coach of the Cleveland Browns (2011-2012).
Clearly, that is less than impressive. What makes matters worse is Shurmur hasn’t done what he was brought to New York to do. Fix the Giants offense.
Under Ben McAdoo, the Giants offense finished as the 8th worst in the NFL in total offense and averaged just 19.4 points per game, which was seventh-worst. Then in 2017, the Giants offense finished second-worst in points per game with 15.4 leading to McAdoo’s dismissal midseason.
Shurmur was hired after serving as the Vikings offensive coordinator and helping guide them to a 13-3 season with a top 10 scoring offense despite journeyman Case Keenum being his starting quarterback.
Last season under Shurmur, New York’s offense made some improvement as they averaged 23.1 points per game but still finished 5-11. Through seven games this season, however, the Giants are averaging less than they did with McAdoo in 2016 with 18.9 points per game, and rookie quarterback Daniel Jones has struggled since his terrific debut back on Sept. 22.
Clearly, the growth of the Giants offense despite coming to town inheriting players such as Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard and Odell Beckham Jr. (traded after 2018) has not improved much under Shurmur.
With all of these factors in mind, more and more Giants fans are starting to ask for the team to fire Shurmur.
A lot of the times, when fans call for their head coach’s job, there is an overreaction. For example, New York Yankees fans called for Aaron Boone to be dismissed after his rookie season as manager that saw him make some reasonable first-year mistakes. Then in 2019, he helped lead the Yankees to a 103 win season despite nearly every single one of his starters suffering an injury that forced them to miss a significant amount of time.
However, these Giants fans who want Shurmur gone are not overreacting. They are right to want a changing of the guard.
Shurmur has not delivered the offensive improvement he was hired to provide, hasn’t done much winning despite being close in several games, and has pushed the blame of his poor coaching decisions to his players.
His track record is not the one of a successful NFL coach, and unlike moving on from Tom Coughlin, there aren’t two Vince Lombardi’s in the trophy case to make the team second-guess whether it’s time to move one.
If these poor decisions leading to poor results continue, the Giants should absolutely fire Shurmur at seasons end and find the right coach to get this storied franchise back to relevance.