In this year’s NFL coaching carousel, teams aren’t always getting their first choice. (See: Colts, Indianapolis, and McDaniels, Josh.)
But smart organizations have multiple names for situations like these, and so we present Mike Shula, the next offensive coordinator of the Giants.
New head coach Pat Shurmur, who was the Vikings’ offensive coordinator, was denied the ability to hire his quarterback coach from Minnesota, Kevin Stefanski, so he turned to Shula, who had the same job with Carolina.
The son of the NFL’s all-time winningest coach, Don Shula, was credited with helping Cam Newton evolve into the NFL’s MVP in 2015, when the Panthers reached the Super Bowl.
But in each of the past two seasons, Carolina’s offense finished 19th overall, and coach Ron Rivera relieved Shula of his duties.
Aside from his lineage, Shula may be best known for being the head coach at Alabama whose firing led to the arrival of Nick Saban.
Robert Klemko of Sports Illustrated suggests this isn’t exactly an inspiring hire by the Giants.
Although NFL Network insider Charley Casserly, a former Super Bowl-winning general manager, disagrees.
— Alfred Gordon (@realfxsignalpro) February 13, 2018
New York’s coaching breakdown will be a bit unusual: Shurmur will call the plays while Shula will also serve as the quarterbacks coach.
That could be his biggest contribution, working with Eli Manning along with backup Geno Smith (if he’s still on the team), second-year man Davis Webb and the quarterback of the future whom the Giants are expected to take with the second overall pick in this spring’s NFL draft.
Shula certainly has experience, with 26 years in the NFL sandwiched around his stint in Tuscaloosa, including nine seasons as an offensive coordinator with Tampa Bay and Carolina.
The Giants were 21st in the league in total offense last year, averaging just over 217 yards passing per game. They also finished 31st in scoring on the way to a 3-13 record.
Shurmur, on the other hand, took journeyman quarterback Case Keenum all the way to the NFC championship game, where the Vikings lost in Philadelphia to the eventual Super Bowl champions.
It could be an interesting situation in New York, with the 37-year-old Manning in the quarterback room with whoever is drafted and Webb, who was the team’s third-round pick last season but didn’t play a single down.
If Shula and Shurmur can replicate what they did with Newton and Keenum, it could be a fun time for Big Blue.
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