As His Seat Becomes Warmer, Pat Shurmur Says He's "Built for This"
Say what you want about head coach Pat Shurmur, but he knows that in this business, it’s all about producing results and that thus far in his 25 games as Giants head coach, winning just five games is not acceptable.
But when it comes to the heat that seems to be intensifying under his backside with each loss looking no different than the week before, Shurmur wants everyone to know he’s not about to crumble in the face of pressure.
“I’m built for this,” he said on Thursday when asked about his job security. “I know that we’re on the right path. I know we’re a few plays away from getting over the top. We can build on that.”
Thus far, the product the Giants have put on the field has people wondering just what it is that Shurmur considers being “on the right path.”
After starting the season in the top-7, the Giants offense has slid to the lower half of the league, three times (including most recently) falling to 24th overall.
Their defense meanwhile hasn’t been able to climb any higher than 25th overall, that coming after their Week 4 game against Washington For the last four weeks, the Giants defense has ranked 28th overall, with the run and pass defenses hovering anywhere from 23rd to 28th place.
On the plus side, New York does have what appears to be a solid young core of players on both sides of the ball, but the continuous mistakes have seemingly sabotaged the Giants at every turn.
“Regardless of who we have playing, they need to go on the field and perform well, we have to coach well, and we have to go and win a game,” Shurmur said.
“When you talk about youth, injuries, and even if you want to talk about officiating, those are all excuses and in my mind, and you just don’t go there.”
As the weariness of losing has begun to take a toll inside a Giants locker room that is trying its best to stick together, if New York were to go out Sunday and lose to the Jets, the only thing the Giants appear to be “close” to having happen is a mutiny.
“I think we all coach and play with an urgency to win games and perform well,” Shurmur said when asked if he thought jobs were on the line this weekend.
“We’re always urgent, just like you coach and play every game like it’s a playoff game, and you try to do everything you can to win.”
The problem is that until Shurmur and his staff change their ways, it’s probably fair to wonder if the Giants will continue to spiral out of control.
Yes, the execution hasn’t been there. And yes, there have been some communication issues, many of which you see in the young defensive backfield.
It’s also alarming when you hear a young player like DeAndre Baker confess to not fully understanding the scheme in which he plays such a significant role.
But at what point does the coaching staff, who keeps claiming that they have to coach better, make the necessary changes to help the players?
For example, when does defensive coordinator James Bettcher simplify his scheme to help his otherwise relatively young defense who keeps having major communication issues, and who is allowing large chunk plays at an alarming rate every week?
When does he realize that it makes no sense to play a defensive front consisting of just two defensive linemen against a heavy Cowboys offensive line that, according to Cowboys running back Zeke Elliott, helped him get the “easiest 139 yards” ever?
And when does Shurmur see that calling the plays narrows his focus and takes away from complete game management?
Does anyone think that had the head coach and offensive coordinator been two different people, that the former would have overruled the latter’s decision to add to a 12-10 lead approaching halftime instead of sitting on it and trying to build on that momentum when they got the ball to start the second half?
Does anyone believe that Shurmur does believe in the replay process that allows head coaches to challenge pass interference when time and again the league has refused to overturn even what appears to be the most blatant of incorrect calls made by the on-field officials?
“I think we all coach and play with an urgency to win games and perform well,” he said of the pressure he feels. “We’re always urgent, just like you coach and play every game like it’s a playoff game, and you try to do everything you can to win.”
Yes, the players have to do their part. Until the coaching staff realizes that it too has to better adapt to what they have, it's going to be a challenge to believe.