New York Giants-Jets game may be Pat Shurmur’s first must-win scenario

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Pat Shurmur

After 25 games as New York Giants head coach, Pat Shurmur’s record is 7-18, which leaves a cloud of uncertainty over his future.

Jason Leach

EAST RUTHERFORD—Despite turning three first-round draft picks into starters and employing an offensive line that was supposed to be vastly improved from a season ago, the 2019 New York Giants season is looking just like the sour 2018 version that produced a 5-11 mark.

At 2-7, all the Giants have to play for over their remaining seven games is pride and future livelihoods in the NFL. But job security doesn’t just apply to the players, as head coach Pat Shurmur tenure could be on the line when the Giants face the (1-7) New York Jets this Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

Following the Giants’ 37-18 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night, Shurmur’s record with the Giants sits at 7-18, and his overall NFL mark is now 17-41. A record like that speaks for itself and Shurmur will need to turn the team’s fortunes around quickly if he’s going to remain coach.

Nobody expected the Giants to be contenders this season, but it was expected that the team would be competitive and show improvement from a season ago.

But instead, the Giants have regressed during their five-game losing streak. Quarterback Daniel Jones has committed a league-high 16 turnovers, the defense is still having communication issues and Saquon Barkley is averaging just 54.6 rushing yards per game since returning from his high ankle sprain.

Perhaps the most glaring stat proving the Giants aren’t ready to be competitive with the top teams in the NFL is that they’ve lost by at least 14 points to every winning team on the schedule.

One of the reasons the Giants named Shurmur head coach in 2018 is because they thought he was an innovative play-caller, one who helped lead the Minnesota Vikings to the 2017 NFC Championship game as the squad’s offensive coordinator. But in his season and a half with the Giants, he hasn’t lived up to his reputation as an offensive guru.

New York Giants

Despite having to deal with injuries and Golden Tate’s four-game suspension, the Giants have a plethora of talented playmakers on offense. Yet the offense, which was supposed to be able to carry the team while the defense struggled, has only scored 30 points in a game once this season.

If Shurmur can’t come up with a game plan to defeat the Jets this Sunday, that might be all ownership needs to come to the conclusion that Shurmur isn’t the right man to turn the franchise into contenders again.

Although they only play once every four years, the Giants and Jets is still a rivalry and ownership, at the very minimum, wants to show to their fans that they’re the best team that calls MetLife Stadium home.

On his conference call on Monday, Shurmur acknowledged the rivalry, but kept it short and sweet.

“I haven’t played in this (rivalry) obviously, but I’m well aware that there are a lot of Giants fans and Jets fans, and that it’s going to be a very competitive weekend from that standpoint. I’m aware of all that, but we have to do the things to beat the Jets. We have to play better than we did last night.”

Unless the Giants get embarrassed over their final seven games, ownership won’t make a coaching change until the end of the season. But how the Giants fare this Sunday against the Jets will go a long way in determining Shurmur’s head coaching future with Big Blue.

This game could essentially be a must-win for Pat Shurmur.

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