Pat Shurmur

Coaching Notes: Shurmur, Jets, Rams

Michigan State continues to look for a replacement for Mark Dantonio, and Mike Klis of 9News in Denver reports (via Twitter) that the school was eyeing veteran coach Pat Shurmur.

Fortunately for Denver, the 54-year-old is staying put. Klis notes that Shurmur is “all in” on the Broncos organization, and he’ll continue as the team’s offensive coordinator. It wasn’t even a month ago that Shurmur replaced Rich Scangarello in the role.

Shurmur is best known for his stint as the Giants head coach, but he actually got started in the coaching ranks at Michigan State. He started off as a graduate assistant before coaching tight ends, offensive lineman, and special teams. In total, Shurmur was with the school between 1988 and 1997.

Let’s check out some more coaching notes from around the league…

  • The Jets announced this evening (on Twitter) that they’ve added Leigh Torrence as an assistant defensive backs coach. Brian Costello of the New York Post observes that Torrence played for Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams when the two were in New Orleans (Twitter link). The 38-year-old spent the past two seasons as a defensive assistant with the Saints.
  • Jonathan Cooley is joining the Rams coaching staff as a defensive assistant/quality control coach, reports Bruce Feldman of The Athletic (on Twitter). The former Akron cornerbacks coach was selected by the NFL for the 2019 Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship.
  • We learned earlier tonight that the Jaguars were adding former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo as their new quarterbacks coach.

Extra Points: Dak, Shurmur, Browns, 49ers

Dak Prescott‘s second contract has been a front-burner matter in NFL news cycles for nearly a year, but the Cowboys and their starting quarterback remain apart on terms. The four-year starter’s demands were north of $30MM AAV last year, and they were believed to be in the range of Russell Wilson‘s $35MM-per-year amount. While it’s uncertain if the Cowboys are comfortable getting to that figure, they will not have to go too much higher. Prescott is not asking to become the league’s first $40MM-per-year player, Jay Glazer of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Patrick Mahomes is the leading candidate to get there first, but while the Chiefs’ superstar passer is barely a month into his extension-eligible period, Prescott is 13-plus months into that window. After talks centering around a $33MM-per-year accord broke down during the season, the franchise tag now looks like a real possibility.

Here is the latest from around the league:

  • After Joe Woods agreed to become the Browns‘ defensive coordinator, he has already secured one 49ers assistant to make the trip to Cleveland with him. Woods will bring in 49ers pass rush specialist Chris Kiffin to serve as Browns defensive line coach, Alex Marvez of Sirius XM Radio reports (on Twitter). The son of longtime NFL DC Monte Kiffin and younger brother of Lane Kiffin, Chris spent the past two seasons with the 49ers. Previously Lane’s DC at Florida Atlantic, Chris has spent most of his career at the college level.
  • The 49ers appear to have a replacement lined up. Aaron Whitecotton will join San Francisco’s defensive staff, per Marvez. A Bills assistant for three seasons, Whitecotton worked with 49ers DC Robert Saleh for four seasons in Jacksonville prior to relocating to Buffalo.
  • Despite indicating his coordinators would return for the 2020 season, Broncos HC Vic Fangio‘s change of heart led for a Rich Scangarello-to-Pat Shurmur transition. Fangio decided a few days after making that proclamation he would fire Scangarello, and Shurmur will become the Broncos’ fifth offensive coordinator since 2016. The ex-Giants and Browns HC’s experience pushed Fangio to hire him. “The experience was an extra crumb that Pat has,” Fangio said, via The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala (subscription required). “I think Pat’s in his early 50s (54) and has coached 20 years, but if he was in his early 40s and coached 10 years, he still would have been the right guy for the job. … Once I decided to make the move, he was the first guy I called.” Fangio and Shurmur coached against each other in the NFC North for two seasons from 2016-17, when Shurmur was Minnesota’s OC.

Coaching Notes: Giants, O’Connell, Browns

Since former Mississippi State coworker Joe Judge landed the Giants‘ HC job, Freddie Kitchens has been linked to a staff position. A report circulated Tuesday indicating Judge will hire Kitchens for an unspecified role (Twitter link via AL.com), but ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan tweets nothing is finalized between the Giants and the former Browns coach. The Giants have hired a quarterbacks coach, Jerry Schuplinski, but certainly could add the longtime offensive assistant in another capacity.

Here is the latest from the coaching carousel:

  • Before deciding to reunite with Scott Turner, Ron Rivera interviewed 2019 Redskins offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell for the job, J.P. Finlay of NBC Sports Washington notes. Rivera was interested in former Giants HC Pat Shurmur for OC, but he declined the interview and opted for the Broncos’ play-calling job. O’Connell landed on his feet as well, becoming the Rams’ offensive coordinator.
  • While the Kitchens hire is not yet certain, veteran secondary coach Jerome Henderson will be joining Judge’s Giants staff, Adam Caplan of Sirius XM Radio tweets. Most recently the Falcons’ DBs coach/defensive passing-game coordinator, the 50-year-old Henderson has also coached the Jets’, Browns’ and Cowboys’ secondaries dating back to 2008. Henderson was a 1991 first-round pick who played eight NFL seasons.
  • The Giants will also add Jody Wright to their staff, according to The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman (Twitter link). Wright worked with Judge at Mississippi State in the 2000s and was most recently an offensive assistant with the Browns under Kitchens in 2019. Wright also spent time at Alabama during the 2010s and was an assistant head coach at UAB prior to relocating to Cleveland.
  • On the subject of the Browns, they are not retaining several Kitchens staffers. Most notably, Kevin Stefanski will not bring back quarterbacks coach Ryan Lindley, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Lindley, tight ends coach John Lilly, assistant defensive line coach John Parella and quality control staffers Deuce Schwartz, Tyler Tettleton and Alonso Escalante will not be back. Lindley, 30, served as Browns running backs coach after Kitchens was promoted to OC midway through the 2018 season, and the former quarterback held Cleveland’s QBs coach job this past season.
  • The Cardinals hired another recent Browns staffer, bringing in offensive assistant Jim Dray, Yates adds. A former Cardinals seventh-round pick in 2010 as a tight end, Dray played eight seasons — mostly in Arizona and Cleveland — and wound up with the Browns in 2019 as an offensive quality control coach.
  • Recently notified he was out in Cleveland, James Campen may have an opportunity with Carolina. The Panthers are interested in the former Browns offensive line coach, David Newton of ESPN.com tweets. Campen was Mike McCarthy‘s offensive line coach from 2007-18 and spent 15 years as a Green Bay assistant prior to his Cleveland move last year. The Browns hired Bill Callahan to replace him on Monday.

Coaching Notes: Giants, Kitchens, Cowboys

The Giants have interviewed both former Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett and incumbent offensive coordinator Mike Shula for their vacant OC position, but new head coach Joe Judge may have a few other names in mind, as well. Judge is interested in speaking to ex-Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens and former Dolphins OC Chad O’Shea about positions on his staff, according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. Kitchens served as the Browns’ offensive play-caller during the latter portion of the 2018 campaign before becoming head coach in 2019, while O’Shea lasted only one year in Miami. Both could presumably also be considered as position coaches on Judge’s staff.

Here’s more from the coaching circuit:

  • The Broncos have formally announced the addition of former Giants head coach Pat Shurmur as their new offensive coordinator, and Shurmur will receive a two-year contract, tweets Mike Klis of 9 News. Shurmur reportedly had other offers on the table, but chose the opportunity in Denver after the Broncos surprisingly fired first-year play-caller Rich Scangarello earlier this week. A longtime NFL OC, Shurmur will bring in his own quarterbacks coach, as incumbent T.C. McCartney has been fired, per Benjamin Allbright (Twitter link).
  • Former Maryland interim head coach Matt Canada has been hired as the Steelers‘ new quarterbacks coach, the club announced. Pittsburgh did not have a formal QBs coach in 2019, as offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner held the role. Canada, who has a long history of coaching in the collegiate ranks, took over as the Terrapins’ interim coach in 2018 after D.J. Durkin was placed on administrative leave.
  • New Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy has hired Skip Peete as running backs coach, reports Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Peete, who previously coached in Dallas from 2007-12, spent the last four seasons with the Rams, and also has experience with the Raiders and Bears. He’ll be replacing Gary Brown, who had taken over for Peete in 2013.
  • The Panthers requested permission to interview Saints assistant offensive line coach Brendan Nugent, but New Orleans rejected the ask because Carolina is a division rival, according to Jeff Duncan of The Athletic (Twitter link), who adds Nugent is a longtime friend of new Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady. Nugent previously spent time with the Bears as well as in the collegiate ranks.
  • Michigan linebackers coach Anthony Campanile is joining the Dolphins‘ staff in an as-yet unspecified role, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Campanile recently turned down an opportunity to become the defensive coordinator at Rutgets, per Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald (Twitter link).

Bears Hire Bill Lazor As OC

The Bears fired offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich at the end of the 2019 season, and they have now filled their vacancy. Chicago has hired former Dolphins and Bengals OC Bill Lazor to replace Helfrich, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter).

Lazor, 47, was hired as Cincinnati’s quarterbacks coach in 2016 but ended up taking over as the team’s play-caller three games into the 2017 campaign. In 2018, his first full season as the Bengals’ OC, Lazor led a unit which ranked 17th in points, 19th in DVOA (efficiency), and 26th in yardage. In his first year as Miami’s OC, 2014, the ‘Fins finished 8th in DVOA, but they plummeted to 22nd the following year and Lazor was given the boot.

Part of Lazor’s responsibilities in Chicago will include getting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky back on track — assuming the Bears stick with Trubisky as their starter — and helping fix an offense that finished the 2019 season 29th in total offense, 31st in yards per play, and 29th in scoring. Head coach Matt Nagy, though, will retain play-calling duties.

Per Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, the Bears were interested in Pat Shurmur for their OC job, but Shurmur was recently hired by the Broncos, for whom he will call offensive plays. The presence of Nagy as play-caller and Trubisky under center could be a deterrent for the upper echelon of OC candidates, which may be why the team had to opt for a second-tier choice in Lazor.

Lazor was out of the league in 2019, though he did interview for the Redskins’ quarterbacks coach job last January.

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Broncos To Hire Pat Shurmur As OC

Pat Shurmur wasn’t out of a job too long. Less than two weeks after being fired as head coach of the Giants, Shurmur has agreed to become the new offensive coordinator of the Broncos, sources told Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link). 

Garafolo notes that the deal isn’t officially set yet, but that Shurmur has accepted the job. Despite getting run out of New York he was a pretty hot name. We heard recently that four different teams had expressed interest in Shurmur as an OC, and the Redskins were reportedly sniffing around before hiring Scott Turner. Denver surprisingly elected to fire Rich Scangarello earlier today, and they moved quickly to lock up Shurmur.

Shurmur’s reputation took a hit during his time with the Giants, but it wasn’t too long ago that he was receiving a ton of praise for his work in helping guide Case Keenum to the NFC Championship game with the Vikings. That performance landed him the job in New York, but he flamed out while going 9-23 in two years.

Shurmur is a veteran play-caller, and has served as an offensive coordinator with the Rams and Eagles as well as being a head coach with the Browns for two years in 2011 and 2012. Denver started three different quarterbacks last year, but they hit a bit of a groove down the stretch with rookie Drew Lock under center. Shurmur will now be responsible for Lock’s development.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Rumors: Panthers, Rhule, McDaniels

The latest from around the NFL:

  • Saints assistant Mike Nolan is a name to watch as new Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy searches for his next defensive coordinator, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link) hears.
  • The Panthers‘ interview with Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski will take place in Minneapolis on Thursday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter) reports. The Browns could also schedule a chat with Stefanski for that same day. During Stefanski’s first full season at the helm, the Vikings ranked as a top-10 offense in points. With Stefanski on the sidelines, the Vikings also managed a 26-20 win over the Saints on Sunday to advance to the divisional round.
  • The Giants‘ interview with Baylor head coach Matt Rhule has been scheduled for Tuesday, Schefter hears. After that, they’ll meet with Patriots OC Josh McDaniels on Wednesday. Both interviews will take place in New Jersey.
  • At least 4 NFL teams have expressed interest in former Giants head coach Pat Shurmur as an offensive coordinator, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter) hears. Shurmur has also heard from “a college team or two.” Shurmur was fired by the Giants after amassing a 9-23 record over the course of two disappointing seasons.

Latest On Redskins Staff, Washington Interested In Pat Shurmur For OC

Ron Rivera became the first head coach hired this cycle when the Redskins brought him in, and he isn’t wasting anytime assembling his staff. Notably, Rivera is raiding his old Panthers coaching staff and bringing a bunch of guys with him.

Panthers offensive line coach John Matsko, receivers coach Jim Hostler, and trainer Ryan Vermillion are all joining Rivera in Washington, according to a Twitter thread from Joseph Person of The Athletic. Person adds that defensive line coach Sam Mills III will also interview for a spot on Rivera’s staff. Obviously, the new head coach is interested in getting the gang back together again. We had heard initially that he was likely to keep offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell, who did good work with Dwayne Haskins down the stretch, but that might not necessarily be the case.

We heard yesterday that Panthers offensive coordinator Scott Turner would get an interview in Washington, and there’s apparently another high profile contender. Recently fired Giants coach Pat Shurmur is getting consideration for the job, Grant Paulsen of The Athletic is told (Twitter link). John Keim of ESPN.com later tweeted confirmation that the Redskins are interested in Shurmur. That would certainly be interesting, especially with Shurmur potentially staying in the NFC East, though Keim says no interview is imminent and it’s unclear if there will be an interview at all.

Shurmur has never panned out as a head coach, but he’s been highly regarded as an offensive coordinator. Right before getting hired by the Giants, he received a ton of praise for his work with Case Keenum in Minnesota. Matsko had been with Rivera since he started in Carolina in 2011, so it’s not surprising he got brought along.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants GM Dave Gettleman On Not Wanting To Fire Pat Shurmur, Coaching Search

Giants GM Dave Gettleman has caught a lot of flak from both the media and fans, but he is surviving for at least one more year. The team fired head coach Pat Shurmur after the season, but announced they’d be retaining Gettleman for 2020. With his job safe for the time being Gettleman made a couple of appearances on ESPN Radio and WFAN in New York and made some interesting comments, via Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post.

Perhaps most notably, Gettleman admitted that he didn’t want to fire Shurmur, the first coach he hired, and that the order came directly from ownership. “Came from above,” he said of the decision. There were reports that co-owner Steve Tisch was pushing for Shurmur’s firing, and his view ultimately won out with controlling owner John Mara. Many questioned the decision to bring back Eli Manning for 2019 and pay his hefty salary if they were going to bench him after only two games, but Gettleman insisted ownership played no role in making that call.

Gettleman was previously the GM in Carolina, where he worked with recently hired Redskins coach Ron Rivera. Gettleman revealed that New York would’ve been interested in a reunion, but they didn’t have the chance because they waited until after the season to fire Shurmur, whereas Washington had a head start. “Before we could turn around,” Gettleman said, “the [Redskins] deal was done.”

The front office head also revealed that it was Shurmur who originally identified and brought quarterback Daniel Jones to his attention. Gettleman then fell in love with the signal-caller from Duke, and ended up taking him sixth overall. Gettleman said on both radio programs that he would be willing to give up some of his power on personnel decisions to a new head coach depending on the candidate. With ownership calling the shots, he might not have a choice.

New York has been busy, already scheduling a slate of interviews, which you can keep track of via our head coaching search tracker. Below are a list of names we’ve heard about as of right now:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Fire HC Pat Shurmur, Will Retain GM Dave Gettleman

The Giants have fired head coach Pat Shurmur, according to multiple sources, including Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Shurmur went 9-23 in his two seasons as Big Blue’s sideline general.

Meanwhile, the club will retain GM Dave Gettleman, as Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network reports (via Twitter). A report from ESPN yesterday indicated that this was the expected outcome, but it could have a bearing on the team’s head coaching search. Several sources, like Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com (via Twitter), believe Baylor head coach Matt Rhule will be New York’s top choice to replace Shurmur, but a candidate like Rhule could require authority over personnel matters before agreeing to accept a head coaching position and leaving his current comfortable post.

In any event, the writing was on the wall for Shurmur. There was some thought that he could be retained for a third year in order to maintain continuity for QB Daniel Jones, but his play-calling and decision-making were repeatedly called into question during his brief tenure with the Giants, and we heard earlier this month that organizational support for him was dimming. He was by no means gifted with a playoff-worthy roster, but it’s difficult to fault the Giants for the move.

However, New York will now be seeking its fourth head coach in four years, and with their QB of the future apparently in tow, the club needs to get this hire right. Announcing that Gettleman will be back before the HC search can truly commence seems to be an odd way of doing business, but the job is attractive enough that the Giants may still be able to land the candidate of their choice. Indeed, Rhule and Gettleman worked together on the 2012 Giants and do have a relationship.

In a statement, co-owner John Mara said:

“Dave Gettleman is our general manager in 2020 and hopefully for many years after that. We believe he is the right person to lead us going forward. Dave has a long record of success. We think he’s capable of putting a great team together and he’s going to get that opportunity. To the extent we need to make changes in personnel or the way we do things, we’re going to discuss that.”

The statement also indicated that the team’s search for a new HC will be “extensive.”

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