The New York Giants’ decision to bring in Mike Shula for the vacant offensive coordinator position left most fans scratching their heads. With the team already struggling on offense, why would they bring in a coach who was just fired for having one of the league’s worst passing offenses?
There’s good news and bad news for non-believers of Shula.
The good news is that Giant head coach Pat Shurmur will be handling all of the play-calling responsibilities. Shula will no doubt have a voice in the offensive game-planning behind the scenes, but he won’t be responsible for the decisions made on the field. As for the bad news, he will still be actively involved with the grooming of the team’s future rookie quarterback.
However, quarterback coach is the only tagline relevant to the expectations for Shula when he walks through the doors of the Giants’ locker room.
It wouldn’t have mattered if legendary head coach Don Shula was hired by the team. Shurmur’s plan from the very beginning has always been juggling the head coaching position and offensive play-calling. His offensive creativity in Minnesota landed him the head coaching gig in New York, and he is determined to stay true to that when turning around an offense that ranked second-to-last in points.
“I do plan to call the plays, yes,” Shurmur told reporters back in January, per Giants Wire. “That’s a little bit behind the scenes right now. I’m not avoiding that. That’s a work in progress. But I’m going to hire [an offensive coordinator]. There’s other guys we’re looking at outside the building that are, number one, career coaches, outstanding teachers, communicators, and so we’re looking for those type people. Some of them are currently not quite available, but we’ll make sure we get a staff full of guys that can inspire our players.”
Even Shula can handle a mentoring role while Shurmur takes on multiple responsibilities.
An argument could be made that his struggles in Carolina were more to do with questionable roster decisions, such as the trading of wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, leaving quarterback Cam Newton with a lack of offensive weapons. The team also lost explosive wideout Ted Ginn Jr. last offseason, despite adding versatile running back Christian McCaffrey.
Blame that on Giant general manager Dave Gettleman, who is now the overseer for the Giants.
Newton’s sensational MVP season in 2015 came under the tutelage of Shula. The Panthers lit up some of the league’s best defenses that year. Shula was also quarterback coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars during David Garrard’s career season, when he finished with a 102.2 passer rating and took the Jaguars to the divisional round of the playoffs. Shula might not be the most gifted play-caller, but there is no questioning his ability to mold young quarterbacks.
Even if he isn’t wearing a headset in 2018, he is sure to make an impact for a Giant team transitioning to a post-Eli Manning era.