New York Giants: Is Shurmur the perfect fit for Eli Manning?
By Henry Buggy
The G-Men are reportedly expected to hire Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur as the franchise’s next head coach.
The New York Giants cannot officially sign Shurmur to a contract until Minnesota has been eliminated from the playoffs, but that hasn’t stopped Big Blue fans from wondering how Eli Manning will fit in his offense.
Shurmur reportedly “believes there is still life left in Manning,” and views New York’s current situation as an ideal scenario, according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post.
It’s no secret that the Giants are scouting the top quarterbacks in this year’s draft class with the No. 2 overall pick. Shurmur’s track record with quarterbacks speaks for itself, leaving many excited about the possibility of him grooming New York’s next franchise quarterback.
While many Big Blue fans are excited about the prospect of finding Manning’s eventual successor, the Giants two-time Super Bowl quarterback made it clear after the season where he wants to play in 2018, via New York’s team website.
"“I don’t want to go play football anywhere else. This is where I want to play, this is my family, the New York Giants. So, hopefully they feel the same way and we can make that work out.”"
Manning & Shurmur Set For Success
New York Giants
Some Giants fans are ready to move on from the Manning era. Others are skeptical of Shurmur as New York’s next head coach. But in time, the two could prove to be a perfect match.
Manning already adapted his playing style to suit former head coach Ben McAdoo’s offense, which is based on getting the ball out of his hands quickly. The Giants four-time Pro Bowler posted his best quarterback rating (93.6) and highest completion percentage (63.1) in McAdoo’s offense, but the improved numbers didn’t translate to wins.
While McAdoo’s offense has some similarities to Shurmur’s offense, there are some major differences, starting with Minnesota’s ground game.
The Vikings posted the seventh best rushing attack in terms of yards in 2017. And that’s after they lost star rookie running back Dalvin Cook to a torn ACL in Week 4.
A dominant ground game is nothing new for Shurmur’s offenses. During his three seasons as Philadelphia’s offensive coordinator, the Eagles finished first, ninth, and 14th in terms of rushing yards.
How Does This Help Manning?
It’s not breaking news that a reliable rushing attack helps a quarterback. Just ask Sam Bradford, Nick Foles, and Case Keenum, who have all posted career-years under Shurmur.
Manning was at his best when New York had the threat of a ground game, allowing him the opportunity to carve opposing defenses with deep play-action passes.
That is exactly what Keenum has done this season under Shurmur. The Vikings undrafted quarterback has taken more play-action dropbacks than all but two quarterbacks, according to Sports Illustrated.
Of course, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has taken the most.
Minnesota’s offensive coordinator has already laid out his approach to working with new quarterbacks, via the New York Daily News.
"“Well we’re educators, and they (quarterbacks) don’t work for us, we work together. So we start by talking, we talk about our backgrounds, we talk about the things that we’ve done in the past, we talk about the things that we like, and then what you try to do is build a system around the things the quarterback can do.”"
The Giants failed to protect Manning and utilize his skill-set in the franchise’s transition from Kevin Gilbride to McAdoo, but in the end, it all could work out for the best under Shurmur.
Manning has already grown accustomed to getting the ball out quickly. And Shurmur’s added element of a ground game and play-action passes will only open up the offense.
Giants newly appointed general manager Dave Gettleman will first have to address the “hog mollies” up front before any quarterback can succeed with Big Blue.
But if Manning is looking to have a career resurgence in his final years, Shurmur arguably gives him the best chance.