After the tame announcement of Matt Nagy to the Bears and the spectacular announcement of Jon Gruden to the Raiders, the next dominoes have fallen.
Per the NFL Network’s Ian Rappaport, the New York Giants, Detroit Lions, and Indianapolis Colts have found their next coaches. They are all reportedly going to sign three biggest remaining coaching candidates, leaving the Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans with vacancies.
Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur is rumored to be landing with the Giants. New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia with the Lions and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels looks to be leaning towards the Colts.
New York Giants
Pat Shurmur was dealt the toughest task of the three coaches announced as potential hires today. He lost his starting quarterback Sam Bradford to a knee injury and rookie running back Dalvin Cook to a torn ACL. And yet, the offense hasn’t missed a step.
In fact, he also resurrected Case Keenum‘s career after a brutal season with the Rams. He turned Keenum into a legit starting quarterback and made Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs into stars at wide receiver. The Vikings are in the NFC Championship, a place the Giants want to get back to.
Shurmur will have the dual task of working with Eli Manning and developing his replacement. The Giants have the 2nd overall pick and are likely to take a quarterback. The front office has to resign Odell Beckham Jr. and fix both their offensive line and running game. Shurmur will be given a fairly long leash as the Giants are undergoing a massive rebuild while Eli finishes his career. He should be what Ben McAdoo wasn’t and that’s a stable tactician.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 15, 2018
Matt Patricia is the most unknown of the three coaches. Pat Shurmur and Josh McDaniels have been head coaches previously, Patricia has not. It isn’t clear what he’s learned while under Bill Belichick, who doesn’t exactly have a great coaching tree.
Patricia is lucky in that the offense is in a relatively stable place. They have Matthew Stafford at quarterback and two solid receivers in Marvin Jones Jr. and Golden Tate. They need to address the offensive line and the running game but there’s at least a foundation there.
The first two things Patricia needs to do are to retain Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter and build up the pass rush.
Their defense ranks 19th in DVOA which has stifled the progress they’ve made on offense. He has a solid starting corner in Darius Slay and a quality pass rusher in Ezekiel Ansah. That’s not a bad place to be starting out. Hopefully, for Lions’ fans, Patricia picked McDaniels’s brain about being a first-time head coach.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 15, 2018
Josh McDaniels had a rough go of it his first time as a head coach. In Denver, he immediately alienated Jay Cutler (albeit not a hard thing to do) and traded him. He drafted Tim Tebow and his offense centered around quarterback Kyle Orton.
In his first season, he finished 8-8, and he was fired twelve games into the following season. He admitted he didn’t listen to his assistants enough and didn’t allow himself to enjoy the job. He went back to the Patriots in 2012 where he would help win two Super Bowls and get the Pats to seven straight AFC Championships.
The bad news is that the Pagano/Grigson administration left the cupboards bare everywhere else. The good news is new GM Chris Ballard has already started the rebuild and with the 3rd overall pick, he can finally start to build the team around Luck. McDaniels appears to have learned from his mistakes and should bring a youthful exuberance laced with veteran wisdom.
It’ll be interesting to see who he hires to run the defense. The biggest issue McDaniels will face is Colts owner Jim Irsay who is erratic, to say the least. If McDaniels and Luck gel then it won’t be an issue. If there’s discord or the team somehow gets worse, Irsay could make his presence known. That being said, the Colts have the best possible coach for their situation.
At this point, these announcements are tentative as no deal can be signed until the teams’ respective seasons end. Now that the three hot coordinators are off the board all eyes are on the Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans. The Titans are currently set to interview Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur.