Broncos Make it Official, Hire Mike Shula as QBs Coach
After what felt like months to fans, the Denver Broncos have finally made the hiring of Mike Shula official, as was first reported by 9NEWS' Mike Klis. The team announced on Tuesday afternoon that Shula has been hired by head coach Vic Fangio to serve as the QBs Coach where he'll once again be teamed up with offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.
Shula and Shurmur worked together in New York these past two seasons, with the latter as head coach and the former as OC. When Shurmur was fired at the end of the 2019 season, Shula's job became null and void, though Shula did interview with new Giants' head coach Joe Judge to stay on as OC. However, the job instead went to ex-Dallas Cowboys head man Jason Garrett.
And so for Shula, as often happens even for the most accomplished coaches, he'll have to take a temporary step backward from being a coordinator to a position coach in hopes that it'll rocket him forward down the road. But it's not as if Shula arrives in Denver with his tail between his legs. Far from it. As Klis reported, he's considered to be one of the NFL's best offensive coaches.
The Giants' failures over the past two seasons can be laid at Shurmur's feet, not Shula's. As an offensive coordinator, Shurmur has one of the best track records in the NFL and a sterling reputation; as a head coach, similarly to Wade Phillips, he's lousy.
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Shula, meanwhile, also has bona-fides in spades. His coaching resume includes a stint as the head coach for his alma-mater Alabama Crimson Tide (where he played quarterback in the late 1980s), as well as multiple NFL stops as an offensive coordinator.
Outside of the phenomenal job Shula did with Giants' rookie QB Daniel Jones, Shula's crowning achievement was the success he had in Carolina in 2015. Shula helped Cam Newton produce an MVP season in which the former No. 1 overall draft pick from 2011 totaled 45 touchdowns from scrimmage (35 passing, 10 rushing) which culminated in the Panthers making their second Super Bowl appearance ever.
Broncos fans remember fondly how the Panthers were favored in Super Bowl 50, after destroying all comers in the NFC playoff gauntlet, only to see Von Miller and that ferocious Phillips defense destroy them. The Broncos would win 24-10.
That year, the Panthers were the NFL's No. 1 scoring offense, averaging 31.3 points per game. Combined with Shurmur's resume and coaching wherewithal, it's no stretch to say that Denver significantly upgraded its coaching staff.
That level of offensive coaching aptitude and experience will now be focused on Drew Lock. Heading into his second year, Coach Fangio wanted to give the young gunslinger every possible chance to succeed. He'll have the coaching resources to do just that.
Compared to the relative inexperience of Shurmur and Shula's predecessors in Denver, respectively, Fangio deserves kudos for having the intestinal fortitude to make the painful changes necessary to upgrade the OC and QBs Coach positions. Again, it's all about maximizing Lock's development and doing everything within the team's power to ensure his success.
The terms of Shula's contract are unknown and will likely remain so. The contracts of assistant NFL coaches almost never are made public.