Key takeaways from Giants coaching staff

Posted Feb 15, 2018 highlights the key takeaways from the 2018 coaching staff announcement:

Pat Shurmur’s coaching staff has been finalized. The former Vikings offensive coordinator was named the 18th head coach in franchise history following his team’s playoff run. Here are some notes and takeaways from his first staff with the Giants:

Quarterbacks are in good hands.

In addition to Shurmur’s work with the most important position in sports, new offensive coordinator Mike Shula has a decorated résumé of his own. The son of Don Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history, was at the center of Cam Newton’s development since the quarterback was the No. 1 overall draft choice in 2011. With Shula as his position coach in Carolina from 2011-12 and offensive coordinator for the past five seasons, Newton was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year after one of the most prolific rookie seasons in league history, passing for 4,051 yards and accounting for an NFL rookie record 35 total touchdowns (21 passing, 14 rushing). A few years later, Newton was named league MVP en route to an appearance in Super Bowl 50. The Giants hold the No. 2 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, which includes a talented quarterback class.

McGaughey makes a special return.

Thomas McGaughey was the assistant special teams coordinator with the New York Giants from 2007-10, and now he’s back minus the “assistant” label. In 2008, he helped produce the Pro Bowl battery of kicker John Carney, punter Jeff Feagles and long snapper Zak DeOssie as the Giants won the NFC East. The Giants capped McGaughey's first season in 2007 with a victory in Super Bowl XLII. McGaughey is coming off his second season as Carolina's special teams coordinator. In 2017, the Panthers allowed the fewest combined kick and punt return yards in the NFL. He has served as special teams coordinator for three previous NFL teams (Panthers, 49ers, Jets) and two colleges (LSU, Houston). He and new general manager Dave Gettleman overlapped in Carolina in 2016.

Bettcher running the defense.

Like in Arizona, James Bettcher will run the defense under a head coach known for offense. Shurmur will call the plays on offense. With the Cardinals, now-retired head coach Bruce Arians said he left the defensive game plan mostly up to Bettcher. The results showed why. In his three seasons as coordinator, the Cardinals finished fifth (321.7), second (305.2) and sixth (310.9) in fewest yards allowed per game. It was the first time in team history the Cardinals went consecutive seasons with one of the league’s top-five defenses.  

Coach-player connections.

From 2011-13, McGaughey served as the special teams coordinator/defensive assistant at LSU. During his three seasons, the Tigers scored seven touchdowns on special teams, and he coached three All-Americans among more than 40 future NFL players, including current Giants Odell Beckham Jr. and Brad Wing. In his final season at LSU, Beckham picked up first-team All-America honors as a kick returner while winning the Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s most versatile player.

New wide receiver coach and LSU product Tyke Tolbert also has a connection to Beckham and his family. "I played college ball with Odell's dad (Odell Beckham Sr.) at LSU, and I went to school with his mom, Heather, at LSU," Tolbert told The Courier of Montgomery County. "I told Odell when he was born, I held him as a baby outside of our dorm at LSU."

Hunter charged with improving OL.

Shurmur and Gettleman share a similar philosophy in that the best way to build a team is through the offensive line. Hal Hunter now takes over the group, which could look very different depending on what happens in the draft and free agency. Hunter has nearly four decades of coaching experience on the college and professional levels, most recently holding the same position with the Cleveland Browns. He also coached the position in Indianapolis and San Diego, where he also spent a season as offensive coordinator. 

History of running the ball.

With Shula running an offense that Dave Gettleman helped build, the Panthers produced 30 consecutive regular season games with at least 100 rushing yards from Week 6 of 2014 to Week 3 of 2016, the longest streak in the NFL since Pittsburgh tallied 43 from 1974-77. Now the offensive coordinator and general manager are reunited with the Giants. 

Holdovers among newcomers.

Coming off his sixth season on the Giants’ coaching staff and his fifth as the team’s assistant offensive line coach, Lunda Wells was promoted to tight ends coach. Additionally, Shurmur retained Bill McGovern (linebackers), Craig Johnson (running backs), Ryan Roeder (offensive assistant), Rob Leonard (assistant linebackers) and Bobby Blick (defensive assistant). Shurmur also brought back strength and conditioning coach Aaron Wellman and longtime assistant Makus Paul, as well as director of nutrition performance/assistant strength and conditioning Pratik Patel and performance manager Joe Danos.

NY native takes over DBs.

A native of Staten Island, N.Y., Lou Anarumo is the Giants’ new defensive backs coach after serving six seasons in the same role with the Dolphins. The Giants entered last season with the hopes of boasting the best secondary in the NFL, but injuries, suspensions, and everything in between led to a disappointing year. Nevertheless, safety Landon Collins was named a Pro Bowl starter for the second year in a row before an injury caused him to miss a game for the first time in his career.