Following the New York Giants 27-21 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, Pat Shurmur’s seat is hotter than ever.
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ—Hall of Fame head coach Bill Parcells famously said, “You are what your record says you are.” If you apply that logic, then there’s very little that’s desirable about New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur.
Following the Giants’ 27-21 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, Shurmur’s record with the Giants sits at 7-16 and his overall coaching record stands at 17-39, which is a winning percentage of .304%. For a franchise that has missed the playoffs six of the last seven seasons and is 10-29 over their last 39 games, thinking that Shurmur can be the one to turn the franchise’s fortunes around is a hard sell to a fanbase that has seen their team win four Super Bowls over the last 33 years.
Record aside, what’s been most disappointing about Shurmur has been his play-calling. There two consecutive plays, in particular, on Sunday that had everyone scratching their heads.
With 3:11 remaining in the game and the Giants trailing 24-21 and facing a 3rd-and-18 from their own 30-yard line, Shurmur called a draw with Saquon Barkley that gained only three yards. Then, Shurmur elected to go for it on 4th-and-15, despite the fact the Giants had two timeouts remaining.
Following the game, Shurmur provided an eyebrow-raising reason on why he went for it on 4th-and-15.
“I had planned to go for it. If it was going to be soft, you see typically against two deep, and that’s why we did it. 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.”
— Jason Leach (@JasonKLeach) October 20, 2019
Everything was lined up for the Giants to defeat the Cardinals. They had 10 days to prepare for the game following their 35-14 loss to the New England Patriots on Thursday Night Football. They were facing a team that was traveling across the country to the Eastern Time Zone.
They were going up against a rookie head coach in Kliff Kingsbury and facing a rookie quarterback in Kyler Murray. Lastly, they had their two best offensive playmakers returning back from injuries in Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram.
If you have all of these factors in your favor, falling to a team that is very unlikely to make the playoffs is alarming, to say the least.
When the Giants named Shurmur head coach back in January of 2018, they thought they were getting an offensive guru that could maximize the final years of Eli Manning and help groom Manning’s eventual successor. After all, in Shurmur’s final season as Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator in 2017, he helped guide Case Keenum to a career-best 98.3 quarterback rating as the Vikings made it to the NFC Championship game.
Last season, the Giants failed to score 20 points six times and this season the only game in which the offense scored 20 points or more was in their Week 3 32-31 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After firing Ben McAdoo in December of 2017, after he was head coach for 28 regular-season games, the last thing ownership wants to do is get rid of this regime after such a short tenure. But up to this point, Shurmur has yet to show that he’s the man to turn the franchise around which puts him on the hot seat as the second half of the season approaches.
This Sunday’s game against the (2-3-1) Detroit Lions at Ford Field is a pivotal one for Shurmur’s future. If they lose, for the third season in a row, the season will essentially be over before Halloween. But if they should pull off the upset, then they’ll at least remain relevant going into November with meaningful games to play.
Nobody expected the Giants to contend for a Super Bowl this season, but ownership and fans were expecting to see the team take a step forward and show the progress that they’re heading in the right direction.
The time is now for Shurmur to rally his team and to show everyone he has what it takes to be a successful NFL head coach. If he doesn’t, his active hot seat will soon become an empty seat.