NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Pat Shurmur understands the big responsibility that comes with his new job.
Shurmur, who was officially hired as the 18th head coach of the New York Giants on Monday, was formally introduced during a Friday morning news conference.
Shurmur said he’s ready to get to work and to restore the Giants to glory.
“It’s an honor and privilege to be head coach of the New York Giants,” Shurmur said. “There are a lot of very talented players on this team. We need to have a tough, gritty team that knows how to compete. We want to put a group of 90 together that loves to play football.”
The former head coach of the Cleveland Browns, Shurmur, 52, has worked on the staffs of several NFL teams, including this season as the offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings. He is inheriting in the Giants a team that suffered through a 3-13 disaster in 2017.
The Giants were so bad that ownership felt it necessary to part ways with head coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese during the season. Dave Gettleman was eventually hired as the new GM and the team hierarchy proceeded to interview several candidates before settling on Shurmur, who was named the NFL’s top assistant this season.
“We did a considerable amount of research,” Giants co-owner John Mara said. “We were able to identify some great candidates, but it struck me that the name that kept coming up was Pat Shurmur. Pat is the right coach at the right time for this franchise.”
Co-owner Steve Tisch agreed with Mara’s assessment of the new head coach, adding, “I’m very confident, happy and optimistic that we got the right guy with Pat Shurmur.”
Known as a keen offensive mind, Shurmur worked wonders with the Vikings, helping them get to the NFC championship game. He received high marks from insiders all over the NFL for the job he did turning third-string quarterback Case Keenun into a bona fide starter.
Shurmur, who said he will call all the plays on offense, took a no-nonsense approach to team building, making it clear he will not put up with the type of behavior that helped derail the Giants in 2017. Three cornerbacks — Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple — were suspended at various points of the season for conduct detrimental to the team.
“I have zero tolerance for people that don’t compete,” Shurmur said. “I have zero tolerance for people that don’t give effort, and I have zero tolerance for people that show a lack of respect. People and the players that know me know that I’m willing to give them a hug at the end of a hard day.
“We’re going to do what we have to do to get better each day. I am as impatient as the fans, and I understand that,” he added.
Two of the more pressing questions the Giants faced during Shurmur’s first few days on the job have been answered. They have hired James Bettcher to be the defensive coordinator and have tabbed veteran Eli Manning to be the starting quarterback to at least start the 2018 season.
Shurmur called Bettcher, the former top defensive assistant for the Arizona Cardinals, a rising star, and said he is looking forward to a prosperous relationship with two-time Super Bowl MVP Manning.
“He’s an outstanding football player, and I can’t wait to get a chance to work with him,” Shurmur said.
The Giants have plenty of talent on defense but will likely need major upgrades on offense, specifically along the offensive line and in the running game.
“Everything starts with the offensive line,” Shurmur said. “I think there’s a great example of that, what we went through in Minnesota. We didn’t change the oil up there; we changed the transmission. We went and got two free agent offensive linemen, we drafted a center that played like a veteran, and we transformed the offensive line that helped us doing the things that helped us win 14 games.”
He also said he cannot wait to design plays for superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who was lost for the season with a broken ankle in Week 5 but should be ready to go at some point this summer.
“He is a tremendous player,” Shurmur said of Beckham. “He was high on our draft board in Philly. When you watch him on the field, he’s outstanding.
“We’ll have an offense that we’ll consistently try to do things that our players do well,” he added. “We’re going to play New York Giants offense.”
The Giants have not won a postseason game since winning Super Bowl XLVI in early 2012. Mara, however, made it clear Friday he’s confident the hiring of Shurmur was a big step toward making his team into a postseason regular again.
“I’ve interviewed a lot of coaches, and Pat Shurmur gave as good an interview as I’ve ever been involved in,” Mara said. “You want someone that really wants to be here and thinks there’s something special about this franchise, and Pat Shurmur did that.”