This Sunday features a contrast of quarterbacks and head coaches/offensive coordinators when the Arizona Cardinals come to MetLife Stadium to play the Giants.
What Giants head coach and the de facto offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and Giants quarterback Daniel Jones will see is Cardinals head coach and the de facto offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury and rookie Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray revolutionizing the NFL with their Air Raid offense.
Kingsbury and Murray made an impact on the Cardinals offensively. Entering Week 7, the Cardinals are ranked ninth in yards per game at 376.8 and 736 rushing yards, tenth in passing yards at 1,525 and 11th in passing yards per game at 254.2, and that’s why the Cardinals are 2-3-1 this season. This is a jump from last season after they were ranked last with 82 points and 76 first downs while registering 10 turnovers in the first six games that culminated to them starting 1-5 en route to a forgettable 3-13 season that had Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks and his staff fired after one season to make room for Kingsbury.
Small sample size or not, no one can deny the impact those two made for the Cardinals. Murray showed he is an NFL quarterback based on his pocket presence and how he takes charges in the huddle, and Kingsbury has put him in a position to do well. The Cardinals won games on their rookie quarterback’s arm.
No one can say the same for Shumur and Jones just yet.
I don’t know if Jones can be an NFL quarterback. It’s hard to take him seriously when he throws interceptions per game. He threw six interceptions already.
This is where Shurmur has to make his living as an offensive coordinator. It’s on him to get the most of his rookie quarterback and make sure he cuts down on his interceptions. His job depends on it.
Giants general manager Dave Gettleman ensconced his way as the Giants general manager because of his pick. He is not going anywhere since he earned the benefit of the doubt with John Mara and the Giants fans. The Giants head coach is another story.
No one knows what Shurmur is. He didn’t come in with credibility to begin with after exhibiting a 9-23 NFL head coaching record. Outside of performing a miracle with Vikings quarterback Case Keenum, he hasn’t been known as a quarterback guru. He certainly didn’t fix Eli Manning.
If Shurmur coaches next season, it will be because Jones made improvements as a quarterback under his watch.
It’s time for the Giants head coach to light a fire on his team and make sure his quarterback is heading in the right direction. It’s why he was hired to begin with.
In other words, Shurmur must be to Jones as Kingsbury is to Murray.
Shurmur needs to find a way to have Jones throw deep and have his quarterback rely on his instincts. He also has to have his quarterback play smart. Cutting down on turnovers comes with coaching.
This means figuring out what makes Jones successful. This means making him an NFL quarterback. This means getting greatness out of him.
If Shurmur can’t do that, there’s no reason for him to be back next year. The Giants should consider hiring a quarterback guru from the Andy Reid tree if it reaches to that point. How about Chiefs quarterback coach Mike Kafka? He played the position, so he may be the right guy to get something out of Jones being the quarterback whisperer he is. Plus, Reid created great coaches out of his tree.
For anyone that says Shurmur is from the Reid tree, fine, but his record and his work with quarterbacks offer no confidence whatsoever to think he is the right guy for the Giants.
Gettleman and Giants CEO John Mara will find out about their head coach the rest of the way. Shurmur gets 10 games to show he is the right guy leading Jones and the Giants forward.
The Giants head coach does not have the luxury that Jets head coach Adam Gase has in working with a quarterback that has natural talent to play the position in Sam Darnold. Jones may not have the arm or height to play quarterback in the NFL. It’s one the coach to somehow figure it out.
Jones is not going anywhere. The marriage with Jones and Giants last at least three or four years since the Giants put all their resources and commitment on him.
It’s easy to get rid of the coach than the quarterback.