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Pat Shurmur wins 2017 Assistant Coach of the Year


Pat Shurmur gave an update on his first weeks as Giants head coach at NFL Honors:

MINNEAPOLIS – Pat Shurmur last night took time out from his new job to accept an accolade he earned in his former position.

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The Giants' new head coach was cited as the Associated Press 2017 Assistant Coach of the Year at the NFL Honors show held on the University of Minnesota campus.

Shurmur recently concluded his second season as offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings, one of four teams with an NFL-best 13-3 record in 2017. They advanced to the NFC Championship Game, where they lost to the Philadelphia Eagles, who will face the New England Patriots in Sunday's Super Bowl LII.

"These are team awards," Shurmur said on the red carpet on his way into the show. "It's nice to be recognized. We had a great group of coaches, the players played extremely well, and we found a way to win games. I accept this on behalf of all the guys that we worked with this year."

Shurmur's trip back to Minnesota gave him a brief break from his new duties with the Giants.

"There's a lot," Shurmur said. "We're finishing up hiring the (coaching) staff, getting to know the organization, some of the players that are around we're getting to know a little bit. Then starting the process of getting the schemes in place – everything you need to do this time of year."

Shurmur has not yet hired an offensive coordinator, but said, "I've got an idea what I want to do."

His hiring was announced on Jan. 22, and at his introductory news conference four days later, Shurmur talked about new defensive coordinator James Bettcher. Regarding his staff, Shurmur said, "We've got a few in the building, and we'll finish up the hiring process this week. Then we'll all get to work."

As he does that, Shurmur is learning all he can about the team he inherited.

"(I'm) evaluating the roster," he said. "I'm watching the Giants players from last year and planning how we move forward.

"I've had a chance to visit with some of the players that have been around. I'll continue to do that."

Eli Manning said Friday he is eager to learn Shurmur's offense. But because of restrictions in the collective bargaining agreement, coach and quarterback must wait a while before immersing themselves.

"There are rules in place where we can't talk football," Shurmur said. "I know there are things he can do on his own. Quarterbacks are good at connecting the dots."

Manning can do that by studying the 2017 Vikings, who had one of the league's most improved offenses. Shurmur's role in the unit's resurgence was acknowledged by bith the AP and the Pro Football Writers of America.

Minnesota finished 10th in the NFL in scoring (23.9 points a game), 11th in total yardage (356.9 a game), and seventh in rushing yardage (122.3-yard average). The Vikings were third in the league in third-down conversion percentage (43.5, with 94 successes in 216 attempts). They had 68 plays of 20-plus yards (seventh in the league), including 15 on the ground, and had 12 scoring drives of 80-plus yards, eight more than in 2016.

Shurmur and the offense dealt with an injury that cost quarterback San Bradford all but two starts. But they remained prolific thanks to the work of backup Case Keenum, who was 11-3 as a starter and completed 67.6% of his passes while throwing for 22 touchdowns and only seven interceptions.

Shurmur coached with the Vikings the past two seasons. He began 2016 as the tight ends coach and for the final nine games was also the offensive coordinator, the title he retained this season.

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