It is an interesting choice of words and, in the short time since Pat Shurmur’s updated résumé includes the line about him being the head coach of the Giants, it does seem as if he chooses his words carefully, and purposefully.
Monday, he welcomed in players for the start of the offseason workout program and in a morning meeting he stood up in front of his new team for the first time. He inherits the foundation of a roster that bottomed out in 2017, falling to 3-13 amid so much losing and dysfunction that the head coach, Ben McAdoo, and general manager, Jerry Reese, were fired with four games remaining.
The goal, Shurmur said he would stress to the team, is to “grow away” from what transpired last season while also embracing the highest goal a team can strive for and achieve.
“We want to grow away from basically what happened a year ago, the 3-13 season,’’ Shurmur said. “We want to grow away from that and try to grow into a team that’s competing to win a division, compete in the playoffs, and then hopefully hold up that fifth Lombardi trophy. That’s what we’re trying to do and just try to get better one day at a time, and I think it’s important for all the players to understand that getting better by themselves, it’s just as important for us to get better together, and I think that’s the beauty of being able to work together here.’’
Two years ago, McAdoo took over as head coach and spoke openly about trying to attain a Super Bowl title for the franchise. Shurmur, since his hiring, has stated it is “in our DNA’’ to win big and admits he likes saying “New York Football Giants,’’ not only for the way it sounds but for what he believes it represents.
Ben McAdoo after the Giants fired him in December.Corey Sipkin
This is first-impression time for Shurmur. Previously, he was able to meet and chat with several players as they worked out at the team facility, but the conversations were always brief and had to be non-football specific. With the start of the voluntary workout program, the locker room will be filled and the clang of the weight room will be audible. The first two weeks, Phase 1, are about strength and conditioning and rehabbing injuries, and from his office, Shurmur will be able to see his players on the field, for the first time.
“It’s exciting, and obviously being this is the first opportunity to visit with the players, we just start to formulate our systems and our plans and really our vision for what we want our players to do,’’ Shurmur said. “I would say this, this is what we as coaches look forward to. I can see as I look out my window here that the grass is starting to green up and the players are around and this is just naturally the time of year where we get back to work. It’s an exciting time for coaches and players, and we’re just looking forward to getting it started.’’
Soon enough, the players returning from the McAdoo regime will notice the differences, some subtle, others more glaring, in terms of schedule, teaching methods and the personalities of Shurmur and his staff.
“I certainly have learned in the last couple of months how things were done in the past, and there are some changes that I’ll let them discuss those with you,’’ Shurmur said. “But, I think what’s important is — listen, this is a game that we all love to play, most great players love the training aspect of the game and getting better and being a little bit uncomfortable and working through that, and I think that’s part of where we’re at. I think anybody, when there is a new coach and a new general manager and some new players, there are some changes that they expect to see.
“I just think it’s very important that we’re very professional, we communicate well together and then there is going to be a transfer of information. I think we as coaches need to listen to the players, but also teach what we want them to know and then let them tell us what they’re seeing so that we know how we have to teach it further. That’s what we’re looking forward to, is the communication and then watch these guys develop also physically as they go through the weight lifting and the running.’’