Some of you may be wondering what this story has to do with
the Eagles. Well, while the team has yet to formally announce any assistant hires,
it has been learned that former Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur will be
Chip Kelly’s offensive coordinator. Now that we got your attention…
Grantland’s Bill Barnwell took an in-depth look at some of
the best and worst in coaching from the NFL season that was on Friday, and
Shurmur’s name popped up in the latter category – twice. Besides grading out the
lowest of all 32 head coaches in 2012, including seven others who were relieved
of their duties this offseason, Shurmur picked up the award for “Most Useless
Challenge.” He must’ve made his mentor very proud with that last one, beings
that it is Andy Reid.
Anyway, what does a guy have to do to deserve being called
It's not that Shurmur made one bad
decision in one particular aspect of the game in 2012; it's that he made
obviously wrong calls in so many different spots. He failed to go for two up
15-10 in the fourth quarter in Week 1 and it cost him the game in a 17-16 loss.
He used a timeout before punting on fourth-and-1 from the Indianapolis 41-yard
line with 6:38 left in a close game and ended up having to go for it on
fourth-and-6 later on. He called nine pass plays on third/fourth-and-short in
one Ravens game alone.
If Shurmur had developed his young
talent into successful players, you would excuse his play-calling blunders.
Instead, Shurmur failed to develop either Colt McCoy or Brandon Weeden into
anything resembling an NFL-caliber starter, ran an injured Trent Richardson
into the line for no gain for most of the season, and left the Cleveland
organization with a lot of young players who have failed to reach anything
resembling their potential. Bizarrely, he was hired by Chip Kelly to serve as
Philadelphia's new offensive coordinator, a role that thankfully is unlikely to
include play-calling duties. You have to assume that the Eagles are hoping
whatever skills Shurmur showed in St. Louis coaching Sam Bradford come out
again with Nick Foles in Philadelphia. It's possible that Shurmur could be a
better offensive coordinator than a head coach, but only because it's hard to
imagine anybody being a worse head coach.
Yikes. From afar, it looked like Shurmur had the Browns
competing in almost every game last season. When you put it like that though,
it sounds more like he was one of the only things holding them back. What could
Kelly or the Eagles possibly see in this guy?
Geoff Mosher provides a bit more insight into the how
Shurmur can help the Birds, which he picked up from his time covering the
Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama this week:
Kelly and “offensive coordinator”
Pat Shurmur will have a symbiotic coaching relationship. Shurmur, a West Coast
offense proponent, will help Kelly develop and enhance the team’s passing game.
Kelly, meanwhile, will school Shurmur on the spread offense, an education that
could help Shurmur get back to a head coaching job.
In other words, the offense will be Kelly’s, but Shurmur’s
knowledge of a pro-style scheme could be helpful in adapting the spread for the
NFL – and in turn, he might just be able to parlay this into a new gig of his
own. Then again, based on Barnwell’s analysis, Shurmur is going to need all the
education he can get.
While there is some truth to each and every criticism of
Shurmur, and they are reasons to be skeptical of his role on the staff,
outgoing offensive coordinator makes for a good cautionary tale about
to conclusions. When Reid first brought Marty Mornhinweg into the fold
he was coming off of one of the worst head-coaching stints in NFL
producing five wins in two seasons with the Detroit Lions. He once famously
elected to take the wind after winning the coin toss in sudden-death overtime, then watched the
opponent take the ball right down the field and score. The moral is Mornhinweg was
promoted to coordinator in ’06, and although the past two years are
on everybody’s mind, the Eagles did set the franchise record for points
in back-to-back-to-back seasons from ’08-’10.
Shurmur is unlikely to have anywhere near that level of impact in Philadelphia, but Mornhinweg's story should give some pause to those wondering how this guy even got the job. By the same token, Shurmur being the choice to see Kelly through this transition is sure to prompt some concerns, perhaps rightfully so.
>> Thank You, Coaches [Grantland]
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