Pat Shurmur's former players discussed the Giants' new coach during Super Bowl week:
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. –Pat Shurmur is the 18th head coach in Giants history, and likely the first to be widely admired in Philadelphia.
Not throughout the city or with the Eagles' passionate fan base, of course. But Shurmur has a lot of supporters among the rival Eagles, for whom he was twice an assistant coach, most recently as the offensive coordinator from 2013-15. Ten offensive players and several coaches who worked with Shurmur remain in Philly, and they are unabashed supporters of the Giants' new coach, who was head coach of the Cleveland Browns in 2011-12.
Several of the Eagles were asked about Shurmur today at a Super Bowl LII media session. Philadelphia faces the New England Patriots on Sunday.
"I'm absolutely ecstatic that Pat Shurmur has gotten his second head coaching position," center Jason Kelce said. "I think he's going to be a great head coach. There were a lot of guys before they ended up hiring Doug (Pederson) that wanted Pat to be the head coach when they were getting rid of Chip (Kelly). He has a lot of respect from the guys around here."
"I think he's going to do an unbelievable job," tight end Trey Burton said. "Really enjoyed my time with Pat. I think he is one of the better coaches in this league. Really great guy. Someone that can really get a team to rally around him. Really enjoyed playing for him."
Shurmur's first stint with the Eagles covered 1999-2008. He was the tight ends/offensive line coach for three seasons before becoming quarterbacks coach for the final seven seasons.
Duce Staley was an Eagles running back from 1997-2003 and has been the team's running backs coach since 2013. He has worked with Shurmur as both a player and assistant coach and is firm in his belief that Shurmur will succeed in his new role.
"A great coach," Staley said. "A smart coach. One thing I saw early in his career, he was a tight ends coach and I was playing in Philly, one thing I was able to see was how smart he was with matchups and how smart he was coaching the tight ends. I said to myself then, 'This guy is going to rise up the ladder very quickly.' You were able to see what he did in Minnesota (where Shurmur coordinated one of the NFL's best attacks) and you were able to see what people behind the scenes know what he was doing when he was there with Chip. He had his thumb in on that. You have a smart offensive coach that knows about matchups."
"I think you guys got a really good head coach," said Jeff Stoutland, the Eagles' offensive line coach since 2013. "I've been around Pat and we've worked together here at the Eagles. Just extremely organized. Very fair and very honest. He was very matter of fact. I think that all the players will respect him. He's a former player, a former offensive lineman. I think he will want to build from within. You guys have a good head coach. A good person. He'll do a great job."
In his second turn in Philadelphia, Shurmur was the coordinator under Chip Kelly, who brought his high-speed, no-huddle attack to the NFL from the University of Oregon. Kelly also called the plays. Under those circumstances, it can be difficult to gauge the coordinator's contributions.
But all the Eagles who worked with Shurmur touted his contributions, both in formulating the game plan and making sound adjustments in the heat of the action.
"I think he's a really smart offensive coach," tight end Zach Ertz said. "He's able to put his players in a position to be successful. As a player, that is all you can really ask for. Obviously, the stint in Cleveland was not the most successful, but it seems like that has kind of been for a lot of coaches. I think he will be a good head coach. Obviously, we will be battling against him now, twice a year for the division. It's going to be exciting."
For further proof of Shurmur's acumen, the players pointed to the 2015 season finale. Kelly was surprisingly fired days before the game. Shurmur took over and led the Eagles to a 35-30 victory over the Giants in MetLife Stadium.
"When he had the opportunity to call one game against the Giants, he did a great job," tight end Brent Celek said.
"We were rolling that game," Ertz said. "That's when I saw how much of an offensive coach he was. I'm sure he's going to do great things."
Like all good coaches, Shurmur was tough when he needed to be. But he also developed a rapport and understanding with the players that stays with them today.
"I've known Pat for a long time," Celek said. "Just a great dude. I think he gets football players. He understands how to push buttons on guys and get them to work hard for him. I think he's going to do a great job."
"We all loved him," Kelce said. "I cannot think of any one guy that had something negative with Shurm. He's a guy that is very detail-oriented. He is a happy guy that loves the game of football, but he is also a guy that demands for everyone to do what is being asked. He will let you know if you are doing something wrong or if he doesn't like it. I think players really respect that.
"I think he's going to be a great head coach. Hopefully, just not against Philadelphia."