Pat Shurmur Shouldn’t Be Legit Candidate for Eagles Head Coaching Job


As the Philadelphia Eagles go into search mode for a new head coach, along with plenty of other teams around the league, names get thrown around all over the place.

However, after Duce Staley was already interviewed, the Eagles also interviewed Pat Shurmur on Monday and are scheduled to interview Bears Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase today. Giving Shurmur an interview makes sense given his position as the team’s interim coach for Week 17 against the Giants, but he shouldn’t be considered a legitimate candidate for the job.

This is a guy who people were calling to be fired at the end of the year because of the Eagles’ struggles on offense. Even though he isn’t the one calling the plays, he has a say in how the offense goes. It’s not clear what his specific role was, but I’m sure he did at least something (I hope). Either way, the Eagles offense has declined in each of the past two years. Much of that is obviously Chip Kelly’s fault, but Shurmur shouldn’t be immune to criticism for the lack of productivity.

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I’ll give credit where credit is due, though. Shurmur stepped in with less than a week to prepare and beat the Giants on the road, assuming the play-calling responsibilities for the first time in his three years since Chip was hired. And he did a lot of things right, getting the best out of offensive players. He utilized Zach Ertz the way he should’ve been utilized from the beginning of the season. He even gave DeMarco Murray a couple carries up the middle…while Sam Bradford was under center, the first of which led to a touchdown. Imagine that! It only took 17 weeks to figure it out.

However, there is a whole lot of necessary context for this game. First of all, it was a completely meaningless game. Forget about all the draft pick considerations and possibilities of playing in London or against the Seahawks. It would be naive to think that the players and coaches are actually taking that into account when playing the game. The game really didn’t matter when it came down to it, so it’s very difficult to judge Shurmur based on that one game.

Also, the Giants finished the season with the worst defense in the league, allowing 420.3 yards per game. Yes, that’s even worse than the Eagles and Saints. They finished 24th in run defense, 32nd in pass defense and 30th in scoring defense. I don’t care who was coaching, it wasn’t ever going to be that hard to torch the Giants defense one way or another, especially that putrid secondary that suffered another pair of in-game injuries to safeties.

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The Eagles still gave up 30 points to the Giants as well. If Shurmur becomes head coach, who says he’ll be able to turn around the Eagles’ defensive struggles? So, at the end of the day, Shurmur led the Eagles to a win…that was by less than a touchdown…against the worst defense in the league…in a very meaningless game. To me, that doesn’t scream a head coaching candidate.

The only thing that makes sense in promoting Shurmur full-time to the head coaching gig was because of his ties with Bradford. Shurmur was the Rams’ offensive coordinator when Bradford won Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2010. However, other than that, Shurmur doesn’t have much to brag about, especially in terms of his previous head coaching experience. He went 9-23 in two seasons as the Browns head coach from 2011-2012, failing to turn around the franchise that seems to have been chasing a playoff berth since 5000 BC. He was given credit for working well with quarterbacks, but as head coach, drafted Colt McCoy to be the team’s quarterback, an utter failure.

I would be fine with keeping Shurmur at offensive coordinator and even calling the plays. It seems like he did a pretty good job with that responsibility, and retaining him might help the Eagles retain Bradford. But he really shouldn’t be considered a real candidate for the head coaching job with so many other more worthy candidates out there.

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