The Giants think they have found their franchise quarterback. They already have a superstar running back, signed their No. 1 receiver to a four-year extension and have a game-changing tight end. Their offensive line has been rebuilt to respectability and they have a defense full of young, raw-talent players who are expected to get better with experience. The Giants have the pieces in place to contend in the near future, they just don’t have the head coach to get them there.
Pat Shurmur can’t survive this Giants season. He just can’t. It doesn’t matter if the Giants somehow miraculously win four of their remaining nine games and finish with one more win than last season by showing signs of “progress” though going from 5-11 to 6-10 shouldn’t be considered progress. Shurmur has done nothing, absolutely zero, in his 23 games with the Giants to prove he’s anything more than a stopgap for the next coach to take over the team when they’re actually ready to compete. Shurmur has done nothing in his time as an NFL head coach other than lose. He’s a loser and his 17-39 career record says as much.
Sunday’s loss was hard to take as a Giants fan, even one who came into the season with no expectations and realizes the only goal of this season is to get Daniel Jones game experience. It was as frustrating a loss as any the Giants have had in recent years, and they have had a lot, with 29 losses in their last 36 games. Playing for the first time in 10 days after their Week 6 Thursday Night Football loss, the Giants looked as though they had played the day before. They were sloppy, undisciplined and sluggish as they let the Cardinals — a team historically bad in the Eastern Time Zone and outside — put together an early 17-0 lead. The defense allowed two rushing touchdowns of 20-plus yards in the first quarter and would allow a third in the third quarter.
Shurmur’s team was flat-out embarrassed in the eventual 27-21 loss, as his rookie quarterback turned the ball over three times, his offensive line allowed eight sacks, his defense allowed the three aforementioned rushing touchdowns and his kicker missed a 37-yard field goal. Shurmur chipped in with his weekly unwinnable challenge, and also made the most egregious mistake of his forgettable coaching career. Actually, it wasn’t a mistake since Shurmur claimed after the gamewhat transpired on the field “played out exactly like he wanted it to,” which is more puzzling than the Giants’ decision to hire him in the first place.
Trailing 24-21 with 3:11 left in the fourth quarter, the Giants faced a third-and-18 from their own 30. Rather than try to convert the third-down play into a first down by throwing the ball past the sticks, Shurmur called for a draw: a running play on third-and-18. Jones handed the ball off to Saquon Barkley and the running back picked up three yards. Needing a first down, Shurmed elected to try to pick up the necessary 15 yards on the ground. His reasoning after the game was that the Cardinals had faced a third-and-11 earlier in the game and ran the ball and picked up the first down, so he thought it would work for his Giants as well. Forget that the Giants’ defense is much worse than the Cardinals’ and that the score, time of game and field position were much different when the Cardinals ran a similar play, Shurmur ran the play solely because it worked against his team, as if that had any impact on if it would work for his team.
Now faced with a fourth-and-15 at their own 33 and 2:35 remaining, the Giants could punt the ball away, and with two timeouts and the two-minute warning to work with, if the defense could get a three-and-out, the Giants would have a chance to win the game. Shurmur decided to go for it on fourth-and-15 from his own 33, knowing that if his offense didn’t pick up the first down, the Cardinals would already be in field-goal range to make it a six-point game. Out of the shotgun, Jones was sacked and fumbled the ball in the process, giving the Cardinals the ball at the Giants’ 17 with 2:28 to play.
The Giants’ defense held the Cardinals to a field goal and thanks to a brain fart by Kyler Murray, the Giants still had the two-minute warning to stop the clock on offense. Darius Slayton idiotically took the kickoff out of the end zone, only reaching the Giants’ 12 and using up seven seconds, as he wasn’t advised prior to the kickoff by his head coach to stay in the end zone. The Giants ran six plays, Jones was sacked on two of them and Giants’ chances at a comeback win ended on a fourth-and-29 play from their own 4.
After the game, Shurmur took the podium for his postgame press conference the same way he has in nearly every game he has ever coached: following a loss. He opened it by deflecting the blame for another blemish on his career to the rest of the team:
“Turnovers, penalties, and then we had opportunities at the end and we didn’t make the most of them. so that’s what comes of it … I feel like we settled down on defense in the second half, but when you have dropped balls, you have penalties … we do the things we do on offense along the way there, it keeps points off the board.”
It was the 16th time the Giants have lost in 23 games under Shurmur, and it was the 16th time he blamed every part of the team for the loss except himself. Clearly delusional and now 22 games under .500 in his coaching career, his team’s latest loss was once again not his fault.
When asked, “You didn’t think to maybe punt there?” in regards to the fourth-and-15 decision, Shurmur looked shocked to be asked the question. How could a team beat writer possibly think he’s worthy enough to ask the legendary head coach such an outlandish thing and question his shear genius?
Shurmur responed, “No, no,” thinking that was a satisfactory answer. To his dismay, he was followed up with, “Why not?”
“Because it was going to play out the way that I thought, all right?” Shurmur shot back, clearly annoyed. “Stop, stop ’em, all right?” he stammered. “Stop, stop ’em, make them kick a field goal at the very least and we go down and score a touchdown. Plus, I wanted to get a chance to make it on fourth-and-15. That’s why.”
Shurmur’s explanation made it sound as though he knew his defense would get a stop when it needed one for the first time all season to present the situation that played out. He also made it sound as if his offense is so dominant and so powerful that it would inevitably take the ball and go down the field for the game-winning touchdown when it had scored four touchdowns in the last three games combined.
Shurmur’s answer was given in the most cocky, know-it-all tone of all time, and he finished with the most smug and arrogant of looks as if he were smarter than everyone in the room when it couldn’t be more opposite.
(The image above is the look he gave the media after thinking he had somehow won the debate about his fourth-and-15 decision.)
Just as the next question was about to be asked, Shurmur circled back, clearly still rattled that his decision-making on fourth-and-15 was being dissected.
“And that’s the way it played out, right?” Shurmur continued. “We had the ball with a chance to go down and score a touchdown to win the game and that’s how it played out and we didn’t do it.”
Shurmur truly believes his decisions were justified, the way he believes all his in-game decisions are. He believes his postgame answers illustrated why his decisions were the right ones and he believes he persuaded every member in the media to see things how he sees them. He believes every player let him down and failed him on Sunday and that he put his team in the best position to succeed. He believes these things because all he’s done with the Giants and in the NFL is lose. Lose, lose and lose some more. He’s so comfortable with losing that he expects to lose and have to answer for his losing every Sunday (and when he loses on Mondays and Thursdays too). He’s a loser with a loser mentality and loser beliefs. Losing is contagious, and if ownership doesn’t remove him, his losing ways will ruin the young core of this team.
If the Giants want to let Shurmur finish out the season, fine. In a lost season with nothing to play for he provides comic relief during each game with his moronic play calls and ill-advised in-game strategies, and his encore act immediately following each game is must-see TV with his irrational answers and nonsensical logic.
The Giants screwed up their 2019 season before it began with their roster and draft choices, and now that the 2019 season is long gone, it’s imperative the Giants don’t screw up 2020 too. The Giants aren’t ready to contend yet, but with Shurmur as head coach, they never will be. In order to stop the losing for 2020, the Giants need to rid themselves of the biggest loser on their team: the head coach.