Much has been made about the awful job Detroit Lions rookie head coach Matt Patricia did in coaching and not preparing his team in the Lions’ 48-17 embarrassing loss to the Jets.
Here at home, Giants rookie head coach Pat Shurmur has not been criticized, even though his Giants coaching debut was as dreadful as Patricia’s in the Giants’ 20-15 season opening loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars this past Sunday at MetLife Stadium. In fact, we celebrated Big Blue’s moral victory for playing a Super Bowl contender tough despite playing awful.
Have standards gone so low for Big Blue that we are celebrating them playing an opponent tough? If that’s the case, then how the mighty have fallen. The Giants have gone through some lean years lately, but it doesn’t mean we should be celebrating a competitive loss, especially their players who seemed quite content after the game Sunday afternoon. At the end of the day, a loss is a loss, and the Giants are 0-1. In the big picture, the Giants’ close loss is no different than the Lions getting blown out by the Jets.
Honestly, it’s hard to feel good about this loss when the Giants were inept offensively. Yes, Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley ran for a touchdown, but other than that, it was a dominating defensive performance by the Jaguars.
This falls on Shurmur. He is supposed to be an offensive guru. He was supposed to be the guy that would put his offense in a position to succeed. Instead, his star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was a non-factor along with the rest of the Giants receiving corps. The offensive line was clueless all around, especially Ereck Flowers, who masquerades as an offensive lineman. He never made adjustments at any point of the game.
It was like Shurmur was lost. He coached like a rookie, which is strange since he did have head coaching experience with the Cleveland Browns. He had no idea what the Jaguars were doing out there.
This is not what the Giants had in mind when they hired him. They hired him with the idea he would be the most prepared coach in the NFL, and that the Giants offense would run smooth on game day. It turns out that was not the case. It’s discouraging.
It was galling the Giants did not look prepared to play. One would think after a terrible season and a new head coach, the players would be motivated to make amends from last year’s abysmal season. Instead, it turned out to be more of the same. This starts and ends with Shurmur.
It’s on the new Giants head coach when his team was confused, unprepared and disconnected. It’s also on him when the team looked so flat like they did this past Sunday. That’s why it’s hard to even call this a moral victory that the Giants, their fans and the local media keep talking about.
I don’t know if Shurmur is the right guy for the job or not. I did not think he should have been hired after a 10-23 stint that included a 9-23 stint with the Browns. It’s hard to sell that type of coach in a local market.
They should have hired Brad Childress, who knows a thing or two about building a team and running an offense from his days as the Minnesota Vikings head coach. There’s no question he would have gotten the Giants ready to go in their season opener.
This loss was disappointing. This was a chance to show things were going to be different with the new regime. Instead, it was the more things change, the more things stay the same. There was no identity whatsoever in that game. It was hard to say the Giants had a chance to win the game at any point of the game.
So it’s amusing to hear the Giants, their fans and several Giants apologists in the local media praise the Giants for a valiant effort. There was nothing to be proud of in this game. This was a game the Giants should and could have won if the offense would have a clue of what to run.
This continues of what has been an uninspiring preseason. The offense was nothing then, and it did not show signs it would get any better. Maybe it would have been a better idea if Shurmur played Beckham and Barkley often in the preseason just so the offense can be familiar with each other, especially since this is the first time he is getting to know his personnel.
Shurmur’s record with the Browns is not an accident. Yes, he had lousy players, but he has good players with the Giants, and the offense shouldn’t be this bad. It wasn’t that bad under Ben McAdoo, so it shouldn’t be bad under the new Giants head coach.
It’s not early anymore. If the Giants lose to the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night, Shurmur is going to lose credibility with his players and the fans altogether. The Giants would likely go 0-7 with the Houston Texans, New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, defending Super Bowl champions Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons, and it could snowball to an ugly season.
Yes, Sunday night is a must-win game for the Giants, especially for Shurmur.
Giants fans have tolerated losing enough, and they don’t want to go through another deja vu with a new coach. There’s no way he is going to get a pass again like he did in his first game as Giants coach. New York is not the place for honeymoons and patience.
Sunday night is a referendum for Shurmur.